Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Health Care Reform Is A Loaded Gun With Six Bullets.

From Dr. Jeff Mirus at Catholic Culture, another attempt to paint reform as perhaps necessary but only if it discriminates against minorities that the Catholic Right wishes to ignore.

I posted something from Mirus a few days ago because it so graphically displays conservative Catholic demonization of women, the elderly, and gays. His six bullets in the health reform gun, which he says should not be included in health care reform and which he says prove that Catholics must stand strong against actors for the "culture of death" (a menace to society hellbent on killing), are nothing more than cold discrimination.

The framing of choice advocates as death proponents is nothing new but it prevents the Catholic Right and other conservative actors from, as Dr. Mirus shows, objectively understanding the challenges faced by those he demonizes.

Instead of discussing how to best address the rights of women, elders and the gay community, he discounts any attempt at reform that includes them, working himself, on behalf of the "pro-life" movement into a position of persecution. Essentially, the provision of rights to others has become an argument that the religious right is persecuted.

It's a dishonest, immoral frame and one that, particularly in the US, indulges the privilege of one minority group, in this case "pro-life" Christians, over the needs of the entire community. Judging from the successes of this powerful, organized, well-funded and manipulative group to limit women's access to choice of health services and doctor-patient privacy, the state and the medical industry have given preference to loud "pro-life" activists over those who are being denied rights.

The resulting self-righteousness and claims of persecution from those like Dr. Mirus are alarming to me. And instructive if we want to understand what challenges we face as a nation to providing equal care to all of society's members. The blocks which continue to be put up against reform - and let me be clear, there is no reform in this administration's health care bill! - are predominantly from the religious and "fiscal conservative" segment of society.

Ideology has allowed our country to neglect millions of citizens. Forty thousand die each year without health care coverage. This is an epidemic that we fail to end because our courts and our legislature continue to honor industry profits, discrimination in patient care, to deny that unbiased health care is a right. Within our borders, social and economic minorities are - to use Mirus violent analogy - sacrificed (left to die) for the sake of prejudice.

If science can package and deliver Dr. Mirus food, can cure his disease, can deliver his drinking water, swell his national pride of American achievement, and even, as our medical industry now does, prolong death, how can he deny the use of that science to better meet the needs of those he has chosen to condemn simply because he personally opposes their lifestyle, ignores their lack of his same privilege, and denies the same financial benefits he holds.

It is discrimination and hatred, plainly on display in his writing. His lack of this understanding, his determination to paint the Christian right as morally just and even superior, and his claims of persecution are not only shameful, they are fatal. But this isn't about Dr. Mirus conscience in any way. He holds a place in society where he can choose how to address his own medical needs. This is about subjecting a needy segment of our population to his ideas of morality. When he takes seriously the hatred and suffering inflicted on women, gays and elders, by this sort of myopic selfishness, I will try to take his protestations more seriously.

I’m sorry, but I refuse to be blamed for the deliberate insertion of false ideas about the value of human life, including support for abortion, into the very packages and programs which should have a proper respect for life at their core—and which, in fact, lose their very meaning as “health care” without that fundamental respect for the life, rights and dignity of each person. I will not be backed into that corner. I will not stand accused of indifference to those less financially fortunate because I balk when somebody presses an ideological gun to my temple and calls it “concern for the poor.”

In that gun there are at least six bullets: Abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, harvesting of human embryonic materials, gender-change procedures, and medical rationing by those who serve an anti-life ethic. None of the major issues which are being debated, including the astronomically high cost of these Federal proposals, has very much to do with insuring the poor. There are far cheaper ways to get that done which do not carry all this ideological baggage. To my way of thinking, those who insist that the culture of death be injected into every health discussion are the ones who are showing a callous disregard of the poor.

They are, in fact, allowing their ideological passion to impede the process of helping the poor and (as Phil notes today in The abortion distortion) they are intent upon setting up a system that must be dismantled as soon as less ideological heads prevail. Look: With 85% of Americans already insured, and some portion of the remainder capable of, but opposed to, insuring themselves (for many young and healthy people choose not to use their income in this way), we find ourselves within striking distance of full coverage even through existing mechanisms. That striking distance is so close that it would apparently cost considerably less simply to insure the poor through existing carriers than to approve any of the sweeping Federal proposals to date. Tax incentives and other pressures and inducements could bring this about even more cheaply.

The Catholic Medical Association thinks the Federal government needs to start over, and to quit ignoring both life ethics and the benefits of subsidiarity. So let’s not kill any more poor people than necessary to get this done, shall we? And let’s stop calling a spade a heart, and a heart a spade.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home