The National Catholic Reporter weighs in on health care reform.
Congress, and its Catholics, should say yes to health care reform.
We do not reach this conclusion as easily as one might think, given the fact that we have supported universal health care for decades, as have the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Health Association and other official and non-official organs of the Catholic church. There are, to be sure, grave problems with the bill the House will consider in the next few days. It maintains the squirrelly system of employer-based health care coverage that impedes cost reduction. Its treatment of undocumented workers is shameful. It is unnecessarily complicated, even Byzantine, in some of its provisions. It falls short of providing true universal coverage.
Nonetheless, the choice Congress faces is between the status quo and change — and the current bill is a profoundly preferable step in the direction of positive change. The legislation will lower costs, not only for individuals and small businesses currently burdened by rising premiums, but for the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which threaten to strangle the federal budget. It will extend health care coverage to 30 million Americans who currently lack it. Finally, a society that covers most of its citizens will be a society more likely to eventually cover everyone — our immigrant brothers and sisters included.
The current health care bill, for all of its problems and all of its controversies, will further turn our society in the direction of solidarity and away from the Social Darwinism its opponents prefer.
Congress, and its Catholic members who seek to promote the common good, should vote yes.
Speaking of “common good” Catholics, I certainly hope that my friend Tom Perriello ends up voting “yes” on this bill, imperfect as it is, for the reasons laid out by the National Catholic Reporter, the Catholic nuns, and many others. Thanks, Tom.