Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Health Care Reform

Last week we read that the U. S. Bishops were urging us to tell Congress to support the Stupak-Ellsworth Amendment to health care reform legislation that would incorporate long-standing policies against abortion funding and in favor of conscience rights. This amendment passed along with the House version of the health care reform bill. Nevertheless, pro-life organizations pointed to other flaws in the bill and noted that there is "a long way to go" to keep tax dollars from funding abortions. In any case, the Senate has yet to vote on the reform package and the bill passed by the House is not expected to stand there. Last Saturday, November 7, the Bishops Conference sent a letter to Congress which said: “Our Bishops' conference has been working for many years to support health care reform legislation that truly protects the life, dignity, health and consciences of all.”

From conception each person should have the benefit of the help needed to have good health. No one should fear that the very system which is supposed to foster health would become a threat to their lives. Moreover, a health care provider should never be forced to go against his or her conscience regarding human life. How is it that the Hippocratic Oath can be so lightly dismissed these days?

I wonder why there is such a rush to pass a health care bill. The president wanted one passed by the end of July; then, by the end of September. A bill of this magnitude deserves careful thought and a bipartisan effort. Once something becomes law, it is extremely difficult to undo it. We should be given the time to understand what it is and what its ramifications are for us, the elderly, the critically ill, the poor, and the unborn.

I understand that if a bill is passed, it will not take effect until 2013, although the costs will begin to show up almost immediately. How will we be able to change a law created four years earlier?

Let us not give up pressuring our U. S. Representatives to respect our freedom, our consciences, and our lives. Let us not give up on praying for them and for our nation.

Fr. Stanley