With gathering force Bishops across the country are calling for a united Catholic voice for health care reform legislation, reports Catholic News Service. Access to care and respect for life are the unifying themes of the Bishops’ messages.
The Labor Day Statement of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) also reflected those values, saying “the dignity of work and “the contributions and rights” of the American worker, the importance of health care reform, and recent collaboration between the Catholic Church, unions, and health care workers.”
The Consortium of Jesuit Bioethics Programs issued a clear, concise statement of The Moral Case for Insuring the Uninsured [.pdf] which said:
Each year, according to a report of the prestigious Institute of Medicine, approximately 18,000 Americans die prematurely because they lack health insurance. Persons who lack insurance typically do not seek medical care until their illnesses have progressed to the point when they can no longer be ignored. Then the illness is far more difficult (and expensive) to treat.
This simple fact of the death toll from lack of insurance should provide the moral will to treat this situation as we treat any national emergency that threatens large numbers of Americans whether that emergency is from an aggressor such as terrorists, a natural disaster such as Katrina, or a communicable disease such as swine flu. In national emergencies, we require our representatives to determine what needs to be done to alleviate the threat and to appropriate the resources to do it. In such situations we would be very surprised to hear our representatives or members of the media talking about whether this was the right time for action, arguing to
slow down the momentum toward action, or debating whether we can afford to act.