Questions for Conservatives: the ACA

In light of Indiana’s continued attempt to ban funding to Planned Parenthood for women’s health services under Medicaid, I found this blog post by Christine Scheller of UrbanFaith very timely.  Here is a precis of her questions:

What is it, I wonder, about my free-market loving friends that makes them willing to suggest, even by default, that entrepreneurs and small business owners like me will be a drain on our national resources or that we have some sort of moral obligation to take corporate jobs in order to be deserving of affordable health care?

So, what I’d also like to know is why the family values crowd thinks it’s okay to abandon women like me, who bought into their message and eschewed careers, but then had to re-enter the workforce because of death, divorce, or disability without the benefit of a strong work history?  You know, the uninsured mothers who serve as teachers’ aides in their children’s classrooms, or bring them their salad at The Cheesecake Factory, or wipe their aging parents’ bottoms so they don’t have to?

And, what about my fellow pro-lifers? All they seem concerned about when it comes to the ACA is the contraception mandate. Don’t they care about women like me who dropped out of college to have our babies instead of aborting them because we heard and believed their message, but then are forever playing catch up career-wise? Don’t they owe us some level of fidelity for living out what they merely preach? Or did we only matter to them when our stories affirmed their cost-free convictions?

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  • Jordan

    I sympathize with Christine without a doubt. I am convinced that ACA is fundamentally just, despite the impediments currently in place against the free exercise of religious conscience (the HHS mandate) and the ability to buy into a health plan without proximately funding abortion. While ACA is not fiscally perfect, the reformation of American health care is not only nigh but decades past.

    Neoconservativism, and especially its Catholic sub-species, are totalized ideologies. This socio-political philosophy-movement references its ideals first, and often considers no other variables other than its theoretical tenets. In the case of Catholic neoconservatism, the establishment of the moral precepts of the Church in the law are the absolute precondition for any further legislation. A society which permits abortion, same-sex marriage (in some states), and requires the violation of religious conscience as a precondition of federal healthcare aid absolutely cannot support human justice until the remedy of these violations of “natural law”.

    The presence of human suffering among the medically uninsured is extrinsic to a totalized Catholic neoconservative plan of action. The alignment of the state to Catholic moral and ethical tenets is not only preconditional but also ameliorative. The establishment of a state according to Catholic tenets will necessarily alleviate human material and spiritual suffering. I am convinced that this latter point is most difficult for those Catholics who encounter human suffering because of the lack of access to health care and wish to provide direct action for the afflicted. The elevation of immediate human suffering over theoretical abstraction contradicts the current social and political drift of many Catholics today.

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

      “The presence of human suffering among the medically uninsured is extrinsic to a totalized Catholic neoconservative plan of action.”

      I find this to be an interesting assertion. While I am not sure we have any self-identified “Catholic neoconservatives” among our readers, would any of the opponents of ACA be interested in picking this point up?

      • Anne

        I think what Jordan’s saying, David, is that this is what “a totalized Catholic neoconservative plan of action” comes down to….in his view, i.e., that Catholic neoconservatism is committed to abstract ideals and places these above any concern for concrete instances of suffering, which I’m afraid IS the case, especially with regard to suffering that would be allayed by a political opponent’s plan of action, e.g.,Obamacare.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=756600456 Ron Chandonia

    The questions Scheller raises are good ones, and they need to be addressed by everyone who wants to see the health care reform legislation repealed. But what on earth do they have to do with the Planned Parenthood issue in Indiana???

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

      To me the connection with Planned Parenthood is that it is a major provider of women’s health care—pap smears, breast cancer screening, etc. Indiana wants to ban them from receiving Medicaid monies, but without putting into place an alternative for providing these services. The parallel with the ACA is then clear: if you don’t want to give the money to Planned Parenthood, how do you propose to make these services available to poor women? Or do simply plan to not provide them at all?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=756600456 Ron Chandonia

        You make two assumptions here that may not be supported by any evidence except wishful thinking on the part of abortion rights supporters: (1) PP is really about “women’s health care” services, and (2) no alternative provider of these services is available in Indiana, Texas, or other states that want to keep abortion providers from receiving Medicaid funding.

      • Thales

        There are other places that provide necessary pap smears, breast cancer screenings, etc. Don’t believe the hype that PP is the only place for such treatments.

        • Anne

          The deal is most women who can’t afford such services have heard of PP, via ubiquitous ads, posters, and word of mouth. Christian, or specifically Catholic, alternatives aren’t that well known, and even if they are in some places, I can imagine many women avoid them for fear, well placed or not, that they won’t offer birth control meds, probably the most expensive (at $100 or so a month) medical treatment most women use, not only for birth control, but for most of the common conditions afflicting women, rich and poor.

        • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

          Anne, I think you have hit on an important point: PP is a major provider of birth control services, which a lot of women are looking for in their health care provider.

      • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

        Dear Ron and Thales

        I am under no illusions that PP is not an abortion provider. But the fact remains that they provide a significant level of other health care services to women, often under contract to the federal government. I would be very happy to see other organizations that do not provide abortions step forward and bid for those contracts. However, there do not appear to be many such groups beating down the doors to do so. Can you provide evidence of such groups in Texas or Indiana that collectively have the infrastructure to take over the entire PP caseload? This is an honest question but it gets to the heart of the problem in my mind: I do not think it is ethical to bar PP from government contracts (legal questions aside) without making provisions beforehand for the women now being served by them.

        • Thales

          But the fact remains that they provide a significant level of other health care services to women,

          No, they don’t. Please consider PP’s list of services and see how little true useful health care they provide women:
          http://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/PPFA/PP_Services.pdf

          (Are you aware that PP doesn’t do mammograms?)

          As for evidence of groups that do provide better cancer screenings including mammograms, Google quickly provides that information for Texas and Indiana:

          http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/bccscliniclocator.aspx
          http://www.in.gov/isdh/24967.htm

          David, there’s an interesting issue to consider that is being proposed by the post. Don’t lose your credibility in this discussion by defending PP as a necessary source for women’s services.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=756600456 Ron Chandonia

          According to the link you yourself provided here, the head of PP in Indiana claims that “the entire PP caseload” consists of 9,300 women. Are there other medical providers in Indiana capable to taking on breast cancer screenings for 9,300 people? Come on, you know the answer to that one without any “evidence” Thales or I could provide.

        • Kurt

          Notice that Indiana conservatives have only tried to stop poor women from choosing to get medical care from a Planned Parenthood clinic.

          Even with all of the Republican disrespect for public employees, they have not dared suggest that middle class and white collar state employees not be able to use their health insurance at a Planned Parenthood clinic if they will. Nor has any Catholic employer (including the Church herself) included a clause in their employee health insurance disallowing middle class employees from being covered for pap smears and breast exams at such clinics.

          After all, middle class people deserve health care. The poor are social leeches and can be pushed around at will.

        • Thales

          David,
          I just wanted to apologize for my snippiness in the previous comment. I’ve got a particular loathing for PP and (in my opinion) the many untruths that surround PP. My wife works at one of the many centers that is a pro-life alternative to PP (and so is either disparaged or ignored by PP defenders), providing pro-life health services to low income women. But that’s no excuse for my snippiness, so my apologies.

          • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

            Apology accepted. This is clearly a subject that gets folks worked up. I have no love for PP, but I have had the experience of having otherwise quite sensible pro-life folks I know tell the most amazing lies about PP. I try to approach the subject temperately, but getting good information is a minefield.

        • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

          See response below: I want to get back to a bigger commbox.

  • http://www.religiousleftlaw.com David Nickol

    What is odd in some of the “pro-life” attacks on ACA is that they pretty much ignore all of the people who will receive insurance coverage (and medical treatment) they would not otherwise have received, and instead interpret the real goal of ACA as killing people! Here is a brochure from the National Right to Live Committee. In another forum, I was accused of bias because I dismissed it out of hand as propaganda. So I took a close look at it and discovered it was based on an egregious factual error in interpreting the duties of the Independent Payment Advisory Board. I wrote about it over at Religious Left Law.

    What I find bewildering is the conservative objection that providing health care for everyone (or even for seniors in Medicare) is just too expensive now and will continue to grow more expensive, while at the same time they are scaring people that the government wants to cut back on lifesaving treatments and let everybody die. It’s all too expensive, but spending must be unlimited.

  • Kurt

    It’s all too expensive, but spending must be unlimited.

    I’m not clear why you find this hard to understand. NRTLC and other conservatives have a clear understanding of the economics of health care — unlimited spending on a limited number of people. Their position is really quite sustainable. Making health care universal threatens this set up.

    And it neatly fits in with their belief that government should not come between a middle or upper class patient and his/her doctor. However, a poor woman can be told she can not choose any willing provider of pap smears or breast cancer screening. Conservatives will pick her provider for her (or not provide one at all).

    • Jordan

      Kurt [July 9, 2012 2:46 pm]: However, a poor woman can be told she can not choose any willing provider of pap smears or breast cancer screening. Conservatives will pick her provider for her (or not provide one at all).

      It’s doubtful that an American conservative would be able to tell any American right now what care she can have under the status quo. Many specialists in the United States do not take insurance of any type. These physician’s services are offered only for full payment upon receipt of services.

      Again, I suspect that many persons’ reticence about providing routine, non-specialist health services has relatively little to do with fiscal policy or cost. Rather, the fundamental question is whether or not morally objectionable services (e.g. abortion, contraception) are provided at any level within any compulsory scheme. The American status quo of market-based, non-insurance-covered specialist care provides at least some separation between discrete medical treatments and morally objectionable services. This separation is non-existent in Canadian Medicare, by contrast. Talk of “death panels” and the like are further appeals to emotion which do not strike directly at seminal ideological questions. Rather, proximity to moral hazard is paramount.

      The battle at hand is over the moral composition of “state” and its attendant obligations. An ideology of state preceds even the nebulous idea of “religious freedom”.

      • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

        “Many specialists in the United States do not take insurance of any type. These physician’s services are offered only for full payment upon receipt of services.”

        I find this to be a dubious assertion. When I broke my ankle and then developed a bleeding ulcer I had the services of an orthopedic surgeon, a gastro-enterologist and a cardiologist. They all took my insurance. My mother (please remember her in your prayers) currently is under the care of a hematologist, and endocrinologist, a cardiologist and some others I am not sure of. They all take her insurance.

        • Jordan

          My apologies, David, for the generalization. some or a number of is always a better rhetorical option than many. I’m glad to hear that you and your mother have been able to receive care affordably. Not all are as fortunate.

          Kurt’s comment on the possibility of any care, routine or specialist, being withheld for ideological reasons stands unfortunately.

  • Rat-biter

    STM – at a guess, by someone from the US – that what we have in the article quoted is a combo of self-reliance (hence the “abandon[ing] of women like [her]”), and what seems to be more accurately called “natalism” than a “pro-life” position.

    A consistently & completely “pro-life” policy would probably be far too “socialist” or “communist” for a lot of US Christians. It would cost them a lot of money, and it would probably far involve more federal activity than many would like. Glenn Beck would hate it :)

  • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

    Dear Ron and Thales,

    First, Thales, thank you for the links. I disagree with your assessment of what PP provides, but perhaps this is a matter of judgment. This appears to be a no frills list of essential services for women, particularly sexually active women. As for mammograms: my wife’s OB/GYN (large, multi-partner practice in the suburbs) does not provide mammograms. They make referrals to radiologists who perform them. As best as I can tell, this is what PP in Indiana does as well.

    The links Thales provides indicate the existence of some alternative providers, at least for breast and cervical cancer. What they do not do, however, is indicate the extent of the services and their ability to expand their caseloads. Ron, 9,300 people is a lot for the rest of the system to absorb. Remember that these are Medicaid patients, and large numbers of private physicians will no longer take new Medicaid patients. They are listed as Medicaid providers because they have one or more patients on their caseload. This has been an issue in Indiana: the governor published a list of 800 alternative providers, but it was soon pointed out that most would not take any of these patients. What is not clear, after an hour googling press accounts, is the degree to which the system has been able to respond as this has been fought out in the courts. There is evidence that in particular cases this has caused hardship, but the full extent is disputed.

    Thales, on a related note: does the center your wife work for accept Medicaid? What kinds of services does it provide?

    On a more general note: I am willing to continue this conversation on PP, but I would also like to address some of the issues raised in the original post I was quoting.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=756600456 Ron Chandonia

      The post you quoted raised an important point that has been lost in the current debate over the HHS mandate–namely, that affordable and accessible health-care is a pro-life cause. But it raised that point in order to critique what the writer calls “fellow pro-lifers” and “the family values crowd,” a recurrent theme on this blog and among Catholics on the left. To reinforce the point, you introduced the quote with a slap at those of us who are appalled that abortion providers like Planned Parenthood continue to receive huge state and federal tax subsidies.

      I think our disagreement comes down to this: Some of us do not believe killing unwanted human beings is “health care” at all. In fact, we think it is the very opposite of health care, and we believe the effort by secular leftists and their religious allies to conflate the two taints the cause of health care reform. This is what happened to the ACA, a measure of the sort long sought by our Catholic bishops but now opposed by many faithful Catholics on moral and religious grounds. This should not have happened–and would not have happened–if ACA supporters had not rejected the Stupak amendment because they considered the interests of Planned Parenthood and its allies more important than providing real health care to the poor.

      • Kurt

        The Affordable Care Act provides no taxpayer funding for abortion beyond what has been allowed by the Hyde Amendment.

        The Stupak Amendment passed the House and a modified version passed the Senate. Because of the GOP filibuster in the Senate, supporters of ACA had no option other than to accept the Senate bill without a semicolon changed. The GOP could have allowed a Senate vote on the House bill that included Stupak, they refused.

        The concession to abortion as health care in the ACA is not to the secular leftists whose call for public funded abortions was defeated. It was to the private market so beloved by economic conservatives and increasingly defended by social conservatives. The ACA allows private companies to sell abortion riders at full costs to individuals who choose to have that coverage, although states may prohibit this either in general or on the exchanges.

        In the end, it was not the Democrats who put the interests of Planned Parenthood and its allies more important than providing real health care to the poor. It has been the Right Wing, which put its dedication to the private market ahead of any concern for the unborn, a consistent pattern on their part.

    • Thales

      What they do not do, however, is indicate the extent of the services and their ability to expand their caseloads. Ron, 9,300 people is a lot for the rest of the system to absorb.

      1. All I can do is to reiterate that if you look into the facts, the state can absorb whatever legitimate services PP actually does (like cancer screenings). Don’t believe the hype that PP fills a niche in legitimate women’s health concerns that isn’t being filled elsewhere. (As an aside, I don’t count the contraceptive/morning-after services as an “essential health service for low-income women” requiring government funding though you may, based on your comment about the sexually active women. So I’m setting contraceptive services aside.)

      2. Even if we assume that PP is providing a necessary service for essential health care like cancer screenings (an assumption that is without foundation — see #1), PP is a horrible institution due to its mission, its philosophy, the bulk of its services, etc. Why give government money targeted for cancer screenings to PP and why not give that money to fund, support, and even open non-PP cancer screening clinics?

      • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

        I think we are going to disagree on this one: maybe the state can absorb them, but I don’t see clear evidence of excess capacity elsewhere. Moving away from women’s health, providing services to Medicaid patients is an ongoing problem in many states. This is a broad problem that needs to be addressed.

      • Jordan

        re: Thales [July 10, 2012 10:34 am] Why give government money targeted for cancer screenings to PP and why not give that money to fund, support, and even open non-PP cancer screening clinics?

        Perhaps a state could award Catholic institutions funding to provide women’s health services. However, one must remember always that the Catholic hierarchy always places the political sovereignty of the Church first before any practical responsibilities inherent to state or federal contracts. The HHS mandate controversy isn’t one of “religious freedom” as in the right to free exercise of religion, but rather a protest against the current administration’s desire to limit the political autonomy of the Church.

        Because of this, I strongly doubt that any state or federal executive administration or Congress, Democrat or Republican-controlled, would award Catholic charities or hospitals federal funding to provide women’s health services. I doubt that a government would allot funding on the provision that a Church institution could modify or discontinue treatments unilaterally and retain government funding. I do not expect hiearchs to subordinate their political autonomy to any state at any point.

        • Kurt

          Perhaps a state could award Catholic institutions funding to provide women’s health services

          It already does. It is up to the patient where she goes for these services and Catholic facilities generally accept Medicaid patients (all of them should). again, why are demands put on the poor that no one else is asked to bear? Even health care plans offered by the Catholic Church do not ban pap smears and cancer screenings by providers that also do abortions.

        • Jordan

          Kurt [July 11, 2012 9:47 am]:It already does. It is up to the patient where she goes for these services and Catholic facilities generally accept Medicaid patients (all of them should).

          Okay I think I see your point better Kurt. Thank you for the clarification.

          Note that the Hyde Amendment protects the Church from Medicaid abortions on the federal level but not necessarily on the state level. Also, state Medicaid programs often cover contraception. Perhaps Catholic institutions often accept Medicaid because the proximity to moral evil is deemed sufficiently remote. Ideally, I doubt that Catholic health providers would accept Medicaid at all given the moral risks of its laws.

          My poorly worded alternaverse scenario [July 10, 2012 8:10 pm; para. 2] should have mentioned that a shift of federal funding from PP to Catholic health programs would have come out of a Title X-like program. I maintain that a number of bishops would still oppose any funding which would require Catholic institutions to hew to inflexible government requirements.

          Kurt: again, why are demands put on the poor that no one else is asked to bear?

          Following along David’s POV: Catholics are in a bind. We are morally obligated to support the closure of abortion clinics which also provide non-morally-problematic health services. Even so, Catholic health services can’t provide more services in a morally-acceptable institution without wrestling with the complications of the necessary evil of government funding. Either way, the poor do not receive adequate treatment.

      • Wei

        I disagree. Some “contraceptives” such as “the pill” are actually valid (and church approved) uses for medical problems, and the contraception is a side-effect. Some women need “the pill” as hormone replacement, and other medical issues. They should be allowed to have their legitimate medical needs covered by insurance. $50-$100 a month adds up quickly if having to pay out-of-pocket.

    • Thales

      David,
      I was thinking some more about your comment that PP’s clients would have to be absorbed by the system. But we’re talking about government funding for PP, and consider how baseless that argument is in that context: nobody is saying that PP can’t stay open, nobody is saying that PP can’t provide breast screenings, nobody is saying that people can’t give money or support PP in order to provide breast screenings — instead, we’re saying that PP shouldn’t get government funding. And if government funding for breast screenings doesn’t go to PP, the government funding doesn’t disappear—the funding can go to a more moral organization (ie, not one steeped in the abortion culture) and the funding can go to an organization that would actually be more efficient at using the government funding (ie, a clinic that actually does mammograms).
      My point is that if you end government funding for PP, you don’t just have 9,300 people who have to be absorbed by the system — you have 9,300 (minus those still helped by PP) plus all the funding that can be now specifically targeted to help those 9.300 people. The “we need to fund PP for essential breast screenings” argument is a canard.

      • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

        Thales, again it is more than just breast cancer screening. And there are a limited number of medical providers who will treat Medicaid patients. This fact must be addressed head on, whether we are talking about PP or not.

        • Kurt

          instead, we’re saying that PP shouldn’t get government funding

          Except that is not what Indiana is saying. It is saying that poor women can’t use any willing provider for cancer screening or pap smears or other legitimate health care services. Middle class families who are headed by a state employee can use any willing provider as can private sector employees whose insurance is subsidized by favorable tax treatment.

          In other words, if you are poor, you can be pushed around and told what health care provider you can choose. However, Indiana would never dare tell a white collar person they can’t use any willing provider.

          Once the state moves away from “here is the service covered and here is the price we will pay” to judging the providers’ outside activities, it has justified another state from saying we will not allow poor women to use providers not offering “a full range of women’s health services” (we know what that means).

          Is that what we want?

        • Thales

          Thales, again it is more than just breast cancer screening.

          David, what other services are you referring to? Pap smears, std testing? There are plenty of clinics providing these services to low income women. I’ll repeat again: any legitimate health service can be provided at non-PP locations—PP is not filling a niche that no other organization is serving.

          Maybe you’re referring to contraceptive services. (I sincerely hope not, but it seems so, based on your comment above to Anne.) If you are, then your whole discussion has to come to a screeching halt, because there is an underlying premise here that is in dispute: Whether contraceptive services are essential women’s health services that should be covered by health care. (And the answer is “no, they’re not.”)

          • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

            Thales, I think we have hit a point of fundamental disagreement, but let me try to respond to your two points.

            1) I am not denying that there are other providers of basic women’s health care (pelvic exams, pap smears, breast exams, pregnancy testing, STI treatment). However, health providers that will accept Medicaid patients are more limited, and I have problems with barring a provider with a caseload of 9,300 patients without making sure, beforehand, that there are providers in place to take them on. And by “in place” taking into account the accessibility issues faced by poor and working-class women (the people who are on Medicaid). I find the breezy assertions by the supporters of this law that there are plenty of places for such women to go dubious, just based on what little I know about health care services for the poor.

            2) Unfortunately, the majority of people regard contraceptive services and essential part of women’s health care. According to the Kaiser Family foundation (http://www.kff.org/womenshealth/upload/8015.pdf), the majority of state Medicaid plans cover contraceptive services. I suspect that many of the clinics in Indiana that will be able to take on these women will also provide contraceptive services. So nothing is being gained by banning PP as a Medicaid provider. Or are you making the broader argument that contraceptive services should be dropped from Medicaid?

        • Kurt

          Unfortunately, the majority of people regard contraceptive services and essential part of women’s health care

          I’m part of the unfortunate majority you reference. And it is now very clear that the real agenda is not (just) to oppose abortion but to oppose women’s access to contraceptives. Millions of us had been part of the pro-life movement, duped by the dishonest assertion that it was about abortion and not contraception. That lie has now been exposed.

        • Thales

          David,

          1. I find the breezy assertions by the supporters of this law that there are plenty of places for such women to go dubious, just based on what little I know about health care services for the poor.

          And I find the breezy assertions by opponents of this law that PP is the only place for low-income women to go dubious, based on what (more than a) little I know about health care services for the poor. Fine. We’re at an impasse. That’s okay.

          But please be aware that there are people who DO know about health care services for the poor and who are convinced that PP is not the only one necessary place for such services and that diverting necessary resources to PP is actually detrimental to women and their health. Furthermore, please know that it’s frankly rude and insulting for anyone to suggest that such people don’t truly care about helping women in need (not that I’m accusing you of doing that).

          2. Or are you making the broader argument that contraceptive services should be dropped from Medicaid?

          No, I’m not making that argument. I’m arguing that PP is a horrible institution and shouldn’t get public support. The fact that the majority of people regard contraceptive services as an essential part of women’s health care is quite irrelevant to my argument, as my argument is coming from a Catholic perspective, one that thinks that contraceptive services aren’t good for women’s health but quite detrimental to women. So, my point is that, from a Catholic perspective, the fact that PP provides contraceptive services is in no way a persuasive argument for the support-PP side of the debate (and if anything, it’s a strike against the support-PP side).

          You say “So nothing is being gained by banning PP as a Medicaid provider,” because people can get contraceptive services elsewhere. You’re missing the point. Obviously, plenty is gained: namely, the horrible institution that is PP doesn’t get public support. The fact that women can go elsewhere to get contraceptive services is entirely irrelevant to my argument.

        • Thales

          Kurt,

          Ugh. What the majority thinks about contraception is irrelevant. I’m here on a Catholic blog, assuming that most of us are coming from the same perspective: that we believe in Jesus Christ and His Church, that we seek to love Him and to take His commands seriously—and, thus, that we need to see the face of Christ in every person and that we need to serve the poor, help the sick, and comfort the afflicted. I think it’s fair to say that from a Catholic perspective, the more loving and Christ-like way to care for poor women in need of physical, emotional, and spiritual healing is to NOT provide them with free contraception. You can disagree with that perspective, but that’s your own opinion.

        • Kurt

          Thales,

          I appreciate the honesty that the real agenda is not just stopping abortion but denying women contraception. Some of your friends in the pro-life movement get all fussy when it is suggested that they have an agenda of denying women contraception. It is refreshing to hear some honesty for once.

        • Thales

          Kurt,

          Ugh, again. I’m not trying to make contraception illegal. My main argument here is a simple argument that PP shouldn’t get money because PP is a horrible institution (because of its prominence in furthering the abortion culture). For that argument, I concede that PP can continue existing, that PP can still give contraception to women, that women can still use contraception, that women can still get contraception from other locations, that contraception can still be covered by Medicaid plans, etc. (did I miss anything?)

          How to form a civil society is not black and white. Not everything that is good should be required by law, not everything bad should be prohibited by law. This is an important nuance to understand, which I sometimes think you fail to grasp.

          This all means that what role contraception should have in our society is a complicated question: should it be illegal, should it have X penalty, should it NOT have X penalty, should it be encouraged, should it be only permitted, should it be funded and how much, should it be funded by people who disagree with it, etc. I’m not trying to answer this complicated question. All I’m saying is that PP is a horrible institution and it shouldn’t get public funds.

          So if you think you’re catching me in a “gotcha!” that I/Catholic Church/some people in the pro-life movement think that contraception is detrimental to women’s well-being, you haven’t. There’s no gotcha. This is old news from Humanae Vitae. **I think it is detrimental to women!** I said it! Wow! But that doesn’t mean I’m answering the complicated question about what role contraception should have in our society with “Deny all women contraception.” Do you understand that distinction?

        • Kurt

          Thales,

          I understand the gradation, but I don’t see you offering any reason to draw the line where you insist it should be drawn other than you just arbitrarily think it should be drawn there.

          I also don’t see any appreciation about the problems of prohibiting the purchase of goods or services from vendors because they are selectively deemed to be a horrible institution. I’ve known people who oppose school vouchers because they think the Catholic Church is a horrible institution. I would say they have the right to think what they want about the Catholic Church, but that is a bigoted reason to be against school vouchers. If one accepts the concept of vouchers, tolerance should allow families to decide where they use them.

          And then there are those who consider Lockheed Martin a horrible institution, one of the largest government contractors.

          Currently, our government follows the same policy as any good business. It looks at the quality of the goods or services and at the best price. I would be open to reforming this in a two step process. First we agree that the government will not purchase goods or services from “horrible institutions” and then a public debate as to what institutions in our society are “horrible.”

          Oddly, I think you defended the right of Catholic Charities to refuse adoptions to gay people, which some Americans think makes it a “horrible institution.” I believe your position was that the Charities should have this privilege and that it was inappropriate for others to judge Charities in this way. (Even though there has been no suggestion that Catholic Charities be banned from government contracts other than adoption because of their practices on adoption). I don’t see how this is reconcilable with your attacks on women who wish to use PP services.

        • Thales

          Kurt,

          I guess I’m not sure what your problem with my position is. I think that PP is a horrible institution because it harms women and society (because of its prominence in the abortion culture). With this belief, I can argue that it would be better for society if PP didn’t get public support.

          Now I also recognize that someone else might think that the Catholic Church is a horrible institution that harms society. I recognize that this person can argue that it would be better for society if the Catholic Church didn’t get public support. So? What’s the problem? The person who thinks the Catholic Church is horrible and should be banned from the public square can make his argument. I recognize his right to do so. And then I can argue against him, and argue that he is dead wrong because the Catholic Church is good for society.

          You seem to be saying that citizens shouldn’t be discriminating about what institutions are supported by society, what institutions should get public funds, etc. That’s silly. Every citizen should be concerned about what public funds are being used for; every citizen should desire that institutions which help society are supported in our nation, and that institutions which are bad for society should not be encouraged. Let’s have that debate! If someone thinks the Catholic Church should not be supported because it hurts society, let him argue that! We can debate that and I’ll argue that he’s wrong. And I think that PP shouldn’t be supported because it hurts society, and if someone disagrees, let’s debate that too.

          As for your comment about not seeing any lines of gradation, why is that relevant? Obviously, every institution is different on how much it harms or helps society, and every citizen has differing opinions on how much an institution hurts or helps society (I think Catholic Church is good, someone else thinks it’s bad; vice versa for PP). But what does it matter that PP might be worse (or better) than, say, Lockheed Martin? Why is the fact that there are gradations in horribleness relevant? The fact that there are gradations shouldn’t stop anyone from confidently asserting that institution X is so particularly horrible that it shouldn’t be supported in society. I happen to think that PP is worse and shouldn’t get public funds, so I’ll argue that. If someone else thinks Lockheed Martin is more horrible for society and shouldn’t be supported, let him argue that. If a third person thinks the Catholic Church is horrible for society and shouldn’t be supported, let him argue that too.

          Finally, you say that my position was that Catholic Charities “should have this privilege and that it was inappropriate for others to judge Charities in this way.”

          No, that’s not my position. I didn’t say that it was inappropriate for people to make judgments about Catholic Charities. I recognize that someone might think that Catholic Charities should be barred from adoptions because the Church is a horrible institution. That’s fine — I recognize the person’s right to think that and to argue that. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t oppose this person. I can argue that this person is completely wrong and that his position is contrary to the good of society (and that the person is a fool and bigot to boot). So my position is that the person who thinks that Catholic Charities should be barred is wrong and that such a position is gravely mistaken and contrary to society’s good.

        • Kurt

          Thales,

          Well, for illustration, let me ask about your use of the term “bigot” above. If a person believes that it is bad government policy to use public funds for organizations that refuse to place homeless children with gay people under any circumstances, and as an extension of that belief, opposes any public funding for Catholic agencies, how is that bigotry? I understand why you would think the first principle is objectionable policy and a proponent is wrong and a fool. But if one accepted the first principle, there then seems no bigotry in the logical extension of that principle. Can you explain why such a person is not just wrong and fool but also a bigot?

        • Kurt

          And then, Thales, let me ask my second question.

          You argue that it would be better for society if PP didn’t get public support. Why does this start with restricting poor women from going to the doctor or health provider of their choice? Even if your intention is to get around later to other venues of public support, why first move against poor women’s preferences rather than say middle class (disabled or elderly) women can’t use Medicare at PP? That middle class federal employees (or government contractors) can’t use their employee health insurance at PP? That upper middle class people who file the Schedule A can’t get tax deductions for medical care or charitable contributions to PP?

        • Thales

          Kurt,

          Re: comment #1 about bigotry:

          You must learn to read more carefully! I said that a person who thinks that “the Church is a horrible institution” is someone I would call a bigot. I recognize that there are people out there who, in turn, would call the Church (and me!) a bigot! That’s fine. Once we’ve got the bigot-name-calling out of the way, then we could have a discussion about whether institution X’s policy is good for society or bad for society, and thus whether the institution should be supported by the public or not.

          The example you bring up — of someone who thinks that Church’s policy with regard to gay adoptions harms society — is not someone who I would call a bigot. That’s an understandable position (and one quite different from the person I mention above who thinks the Church is a horrible institution that should not be included in the public square). But it’s a position that I think is quite mistaken and quite detrimental to the common good.

          Re: comment #2

          Because of the fungibility of money, any public monies that go to PP, inevitably supports their abortion philosophy and business. I happen to believe that there is a plethora of health services options for women (at least it’s the case in my part of the world), and that PP does not fill a necessary niche for women’s health services. Consequently, I see no need for public monies to subsidize services at PP. Of course, if a woman wants to go to PP, she can still do that.

        • Thales

          <i<Consequently, I see no need for public monies to subsidize services at PP.

          I should add that not only do I see no need for public monies to subsidize PP (and giving them public money is morally objectionable to me), I think the money is being wasted there and women would be better helped if the money went to other health clinics and services.

        • Kurt

          Thales,

          What do you say to someone who says that because of the fungibility of money, any public monies that go to the Catholic Church, inevitably supports evangelization and Catholic worship?

          Second, I understand your objection to government vending with PP. I’m still not clear why banning poor women from using their public insurance is the place to start while middle class people are left alone, presumably until a later date (or maybe not at all. I don’t know what your next steps are).

        • Kurt

          Thales,

          I also appreciate your clarification on banning gay people from adopting children. While we have different conclusions, we seem to agree it is a question of what is in the common good, not a matter of individual contractors liberty rights to come to their own conclusions.

        • Thales

          What do you say to someone who says that because of the fungibility of money, any public monies that go to the Catholic Church, inevitably supports evangelization and Catholic worship?

          Easy answer. I say that it’s not contrary to the common good — and that it’s very supportive of the common good — if public support/monies directly or indirectly benefit the Catholic Church (or any other religious institution promoting the common good and making people into better citizens). PP is different, because it does not support the common good. Religion plays a very positive role in our society, making people into good citizens and providing all kinds of positive social services— while PP has a very negative role in our society.

          I’m still not clear why banning poor women from using their public insurance is the place to start

          Sorry, I don’t know what this refers to. I’m ignorant of the issue you’re thinking of. All I’m thinking of here is governmental support of PP.

          we seem to agree it is a question of what is in the common good, not a matter of individual contractors liberty rights to come to their own conclusions.

          I think I agree with your statement — but I also note that a notion of the common good is tied up with liberty. In other words, it’s in the common good that individuals and institutions and religions are accommodated and permitted the freedom to operate in manners that support the common good.

        • Kurt

          Thales,

          Let me ask your counsel on this matter. I and a group of liked minded friends all believe that the Republican Party and its money raising wings do not serve to common good. I think that is a matter our prudential judgment might lead us to and that is not the matter I seek counsel over.

          The Archdiocese of Washington has initiated a new electronic tithing program called “FaithDirect”. The Archdiocese contracts this out to one of the leading partisan Republican fundraising firms. There is concern about this among my group. Some, following the fungibility of money theory you hold, are objecting to this as the Archdiocese is giving money to this Republican operation. I’ve taken the position our concern should be limited to making sure this firm does not use the names and information it receives for other (partisan) purposes. One parish administrator reacted very negatively to our inquiries and said that we “are attacking the Church” and strongly warned us not to initiate a public campaign against FaithDirect. We continue to discuss the appropriate response.

          Certainly there may be misguided aspects of us pursuing an action against FaithDirect but is it your counsel that on the narrow and singular issue of the Archdiocese giving money to this Republican fundraising firm, one can legitimately hold that money is fungible?

          Sorry, I don’t know what this refers to. I’m ignorant of the issue you’re thinking of. All I’m thinking of here is governmental support of PP.

          You seek to ban women who have their health insurance from Medicaid (a program for the poor) from chosing to use their Medicaid insurance to get health care from PP. There have been no calls to prevent middle class persons who get public insurance (Medicare insurance, civil service employee health insurance, veterans’ insurance, or even tax favored private insurance) from using PP if that is the covered person’s choice. I assume at some point in the future the silence will be broken on government support for PP other than programs for the poor, but my question is why start with poor women?

        • Thales

          Kurt,

          Because of the fungibility of money and because of the interconnectedness of this world, it is inevitable that we will happen to indirectly support persons or institutions which harm the common good. It is inevitable that we will materially cooperate with evil in some indirect way. But even so, it’s possible for us to make judgment calls and to make distinctions about how close a connection there is to a harmful institution, and how distant the connection is. In other words, considerations include the fact that some institutions are more harmful to the common good than others, and the fact that some situations are more directly connected to the these harmful institutions than other situations.

          So, in your example, as David posted below, it looks like you’ve got a company that does a good thing: providing electronic debiting for churches. But apparently the owner also donates to GOP causes? And you think the GOP is harmful to the common good? [Shrug] Here’s my thoughts. First, the GOP may be harmful to the common good, but I wouldn’t equate its “horribleness” with PP (after all, I don’t equate the Democratic party with PP). I don’t equate political parties with PP. But even assuming the GOP’s horribleness, it looks like Faith Direct is a company providing a necessary and useful service, and then someone involved with Faith Direct then donates to the GOP. That means that there is an extra link in the chain there, kind of like McDonalds donating to PP. Personally, I know that some of the McDonalds higher-ups donate to PP, but McDonalds still provides a useful service which I pay for, so it doesn’t bother me when I buy a McDonalds hamburger from time to time. In fact, I regularly engage with companies in buying their services that have employees/owners who donate to political causes I disagree with (and which I think are harmful to the common good), but I consider there to be a sufficient distance in the chain link such that I don’t get worked up over it. Or sometimes I have to engage with the company because there is no good alternative (eg., I have to buy a hotel room, even though the hotel is supporting the porn industry, because I’ve got no other non-porn-supporting alternatives) — I wonder whether there is an alternative to Faith Direct.

          So I think electronic debiting is a good thing — we do it at my church and it’s really handy. Now, supposing a Faith Direct owner was making regular donations to PP: If there was no good alternative and Faith Direct was offering this useful service at a good price, would I be in support of the diocese hiring them do it? I think so, because of the chain links.

          I see it different with PP: there, the government is directly giving public money to a horrible institution, and the money would be better used to help women if it was used elsewhere. There’s no chain links.

          Re: comment 2.
          I’m against any government support for PP, whether it’s Medicaid or Medicare, or any rich person’s government benefits.

        • Kurt

          Thales,

          I appreciate your statement that while you may disagree with the proposition that the Republican Party is against the common good, that you respect the right of others to come to that conclusion and then act based on that conclusion.

          Now, the issue is not that a vendor that makes some contributions to the Republican Party, but that it is one whose primary business is to support the Republican Party. So with that misunderstanding corrected, it seems that there are not the multiple links in the chain you reference. The primary activitity of this vendor is something a portion of laity finds objectionable.

          So it seems this vendor fails the same test as PP under your criteria. Is there anything inappropriate about bringing this issue into the public square other than we have had church officials sternly warn us not to?

          Re: comment 2.
          I’m against any government support for PP, whether it’s Medicaid or Medicare, or any rich person’s government benefits.

          I always assumed that. Can you explain why the politcal forces of the pro-life movement have targeted poor women choosing to use their insurance at PP but so far been silent on middle class and affluent women?

        • Thales

          Now, the issue is not that a vendor that makes some contributions to the Republican Party, but that it is one whose primary business is to support the Republican Party. So with that misunderstanding corrected, it seems that there are not the multiple links in the chain you reference. The primary activitity of this vendor is something a portion of laity finds objectionable.

          But that’s not correct. Isn’t the primary activity of the vendor is to provide the debiting service, just like the primary activity of McD’s is to provide me a hamburger?

          Re: PP
          I was under the impression that that the pro-life movement was seeking to stop government funding of PP (eg., the House voting to defund PP), which doesn’t take into poor vs. rich. You might be able to fault the pro-life movement’s motivations in some ways, but I think it’s a stretch to think that the pro-life movement is motivated by class concerns.

        • Kurt

          But that’s not correct. Isn’t the primary activity of the vendor is to provide the debiting service, just like the primary activity of McD’s is to provide me a hamburger?

          No. Almost all of their other work (the vast majority of their activities) is to promote the Republican Party. The FaithDirect is a small part of their enterprise. In fact however you measure what portion of PP’s activities are abortion related, it seems to come out to a smaller share of PP activities than the political work of this enterprise. And their church related work is a lot smaller portion of their work than the portion of PP’s work dedicated to pap smears and cancer screening.

          Mr. Walsh, head of this operation, is a very talented man in the world of political financing. I can show you numerous testimonials by leading Republicans about all his operations have done for them.

          Re: PP
          I was under the impression that that the pro-life movement was seeking to stop government funding of PP (eg., the House voting to defund PP), which doesn’t take into poor vs. rich. You might be able to fault the pro-life movement’s motivations in some ways, but I think it’s a stretch to think that the pro-life movement is motivated by class concerns.

          Evens with the marvels of the internet, I can’t find a SINGLE call from a pro-life organization or individual or a bil introduced (you can be the first) that calls for an end of government funding of PP through Medicare, public worker health insurance (FEHBP/FSAs), veterans benefits (TRICARE) or even tax protected private insurance. Maybe I am doing something wrong in my searches. Can you help me out?

        • Thales

          Kurt,
          Re:PP
          I’m no expert on this area of the law, but aren’t Medicare and Medicaid slightly different things (though related)? Under Medicaid, government money is given to the states, which is then given to PP. Indiana and Texas want this government money to go elsewhere (not PP), presumably because it would better help women elsewhere. Under Medicare, government funds aren’t disbursed to PP, right? That’s not how Medicare works, right? If it was, I’d have no doubt that the pro-lifers would seek the ending of that type of funding too.

          Re: FaithDirect
          I’ll respond below in a new comment.

        • Kurt

          Under Medicare, government funds aren’t disbursed to PP,

          Medicare is a health insurance program for the disabled and elderly, People go to the health provider of their choice (including PP, if they wish) and PP or whoever bills the government for the covered service. Medicaid is a health insurance program for the poor. People go to the health provider of their choice, and it bills the government for the qualified service. Noo difference there.

          Medicaid is jointly state-federal financed, Medicare is solely federal.

          So this is why Indiana can try to block Medicaid but not Medicare, but it does not explain why no pro-life member of Congress or national organization has sought to end that type of funding too (other than possibility that poor people are easier to push around while middle class and affluent people fight back).

        • Thales

          Kurt,

          I honestly think that this is a phantom distinction you’re making. After my little bit of research, nowhere have I found commentary (from either the pro side or the con side) discussing this distinction you’re making. Can you point me to where you’re getting this from?

          In my research I found the government’s brief in its case trying to stop the Indiana law from going into effect.
          http://www.mainjustice.com/files/2011/06/Planned-Parenthood-DOJ-Filing.pdf
          On page 6 is the Indiana law: as you can see, it’s a general prohibition of no appropriations going to any entity that performs abortion. There is no evidence of the distinction that you’re making: it’s a general prohibition of all appropriations, with no distinction based on Medicaid, Medicare, low-income or non-low-income Now, the effect of this general law is that it effects Medicaid funding, because that’s just the way Medicaid works, in contrast with Medicare. (See pages 6 and 7). But the Indiana law doesn’t single out poor people and exclude middle class and affluent people.

    • Thales

      David,
      Sorry, I just noticed your comment asking about the center my wife is at. It’s a pro-life pregnancy/parenting help center for low-income women/couples: they provide free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, counseling, parenting classes. I believe the whole operation runs off private donations, so I’m not sure whether Medicaid comes into the picture or not — I’d have to check with my wife.

      • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

        I would be surprised if they did get Medicaid reimbursement: I am not aware of any such center that does, though my ignorance may not mean very much.

        • Kurt

          David,

          The principle of Medicaid is that Medicaid covers certain services and the patient chooses any willing provdier. So such a clinic could, if they wanted to, accept Medicaid payment for covered services they provide.

          Obviously, the principle of allowing a poor woman to choose her own doctor or provider is something the conservatives now find abhorrent (though oddly silent when it comes to middle class persons).

          • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

            Kurt, yes, I understand this. However, my understanding is that becoming a Medicaid provider requires a fair amount of infrastructure and capital start up costs which I suspect are beyond the reach of most CPCs. (I skimmed the application for Indiana since that is where we are talking about.) Before answering you I did a search and after about 20 minutes I found one clinic in South Carolina with a physician on staff who takes Medicaid. Many more will help you with the paperwork but not provide covered services. So they do exist, but they seem pretty rare.

        • Thales

          David,
          I talked with my wife to get all the details about our metropolitan area. Her center doesn’t take Medicaid because they provide all services for free. They do the paperwork to sign up women onto Medicaid if that is needed, and then they point women to local providers for other medical care, if the women need it (like mammograms, STD testing, etc.) My wife assures me that in our metropolitan area, non-PP options for essential women’s health services are plentiful — she’s seeing and referring women every day so she would know. In fact, I get the impression that PP is playing second fiddle to my wife’s organization in my neck of the woods, because my wife’s organization offers greater access for low-income women than PP, has more locations than PP, sees a greater number of low-income women than PP, etc. in our metropolitan area. If you email me privately at my email address (you should be able to see it when you approve my comments), I’ll give you more specific details.

          • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

            Thank you Thales, this is proving to be very enlightening.

          • Ronald King

            Thales, I just want to drop a note to ask you to give your wife my profound admiration for the service she does. There was a book written about 5 years ago, if I remember correctly. that chronicled the influx of women moving into metropolitan areas from rural areas which began in the mid 1800’s. The writer said that abortions were proportionately greater than they are currently. He also reported that abortions began to decline in the 1900’s when more social services were being provided for women who previously had little to no support.
            It appears that the key is not to get rid of PP but to outperform them. Are Catholics willing to sacrifice their financial pleasures enough to build major support systems in metropolitan areas which would over shadow PP?

          • Jordan

            Ronald King [July 13, 2012 7:53 am]: Are Catholics willing to sacrifice their financial pleasures enough to build major support systems in metropolitan areas which would over shadow PP?

            Sadly, no. The collapse of the industrial union system and the rise of the service-sector economy, combined with the subsequent decrease in employer-funded benefits such as comprehensive health care and reliable pension schemes, have stretched many working Americans beyond the ability to save for their own long-term chonic illness treatment let alone the care of others. I would not characterize the debt/savings crisis among working- and middle-income Americans as “financial pleasure”, as if many individuals and families wilfully squander their money. Rather, there’s no money to spend on a tithe (or a compulsory health care tax, for that matter) if one can barely scrape up money month after month for a car loan and mortgage payment on an “underwater” house.

            I have long advocated for the American Church to incorporate and establish itself as a self-sustaining health insurance and health services provider, especially if the HHS mandate is defeated. An incorporated Catholic health insurance and care system would provide a moral alternative to PP and assure Catholics that their premiums are not used for morally forbidden means. Not only can the American Church not bear corporate tax, but American Catholics would not be able to support this system through tithes, plan premiums, and the ACA tax. Catholics are among the worst tithers. I also suspect that even if Catholic taxpayers could apply a HHS-mandate-free compulsory health tax to a Church HMO, many would still oppose a Church health insurance scheme since many do not even have the money to feed and shelter themselves, let alone pay a tax even if it is diverted to a moral agent.

        • Thales

          Ronald,

          Thanks! That’s very kind of you.

          I really like your comment about “It appears that the key is not to get rid of PP but to outperform them. Are Catholics willing to sacrifice their financial pleasures enough to build major support systems in metropolitan areas which would over shadow PP?” I agree!

          This touches on a very valid criticism of conservatism: that it’s simple and easy to criticize PP, the ACA, liberal health plan X or liberal economic plan Y, etc. It’s the easiest thing in the world to be a critic. But of course that doesn’t do anything to help the people who truly need help. Conservatives can’t just criticize; they need to propose ways to help people and then actually do them! Actually serving people is the best way to help people — and, obviously, that also happens to be the most effective way of changing people’s hearts to a culture of life and of having them encounter Christ’s love. It’s too bad that conservatives don’t recognize and live out this most obvious truth more often.

  • Ronald King

    David, The question I have is could the CC provide healthcare coverage for women in Christine’s position. With over 60 million catholics in the US what if 10% gave $100 a month to fund healthcare for such women? Is that feasible? I know that in my previous life I would let the co-pay or the full amount stand on the books realizing that this person could not pay the full amount nor the co-pay if they had insurance. This was just for psychotherapy or family therapy. I saw people, mostly single mothers, who also had major health problems which was a source of tremendous anxiety due to the cost of treatment and the lack of social and financial support available to them. Costs of medications and the difficulty getting funding to help pay for these medications just increased their fears.
    Their conditions would have improved much quicker knowing that they had the financial support of a system in place which would alleviate this sense of isolation and abandonment. This sense of helplessness overwhelmed most of those who came to my office. It brought to their awarness the thought that they were nothing in the grand scheme of society and their continued suffering alone validated their experience. Everyday was a day to endure the pain and fear of knowing they were not valued.
    They experienced the conservative right as uncaring. The evidence was clear for them.

  • http://renegadetrad.blogspot.com A Sinner

    Well, I hate to be the one to bring up the Nazis, so I won’t use that example specifically…

    But what you say about “is it ethical…if there is no alternative to take on the good things they do” is a question I suppose we could also ask about governments. If there is a genocidal government (but which, presumably, is also providing police, fire, roads, health-care for some, the entire infrastructure in other words)…is it wrong to overthrow that government to stop the genocide unless you have a specific plan for who will step in an build roads and stop fires? Or, do you assume the vacuum will naturally be filled, and not worry about it?

    I’m not offering an answer, I’m just providing a potential analogy…

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

      A good thing I don’t have to invoke Godwin’s law!

      A good point, though complicated by degree of evil, etc.

    • Kurt

      Sinner,

      If I were to take their rhetoric seriously, I have no doubt most right to lifers would overthrow the government of the “genocidal” United States, hold a “people’s court” trial of then ex-President Obama and have a provisional politburo of generals and right wing clergymen.

      But between now and when they hold their Beer Hall putsch, why can’t a person who has health insurance from the state use any willing provider?

  • http://chapinracional.blogspot.com/ Alejandro Rodríguez

    Opposing to giving medical care to people is just plain uncatholic. Just because catholic institutions and hospitals provide coverage to such things as contraception, sterility procedures and abortifacents does not mean that all patients will use them. The only thing I agree with is *probably* the sterility procedure and abortion, but everything else? Come on. This is just plain unchristian.

  • dominic1955

    While I certainly sympathize with the concept of making sure people have health care, is is not of fundamental importance to cross all of our i’s and dot all of our t’s? If some of our fellow Americans want the gov’t to make us pay for their expenses at the Altar of Baal, then I think it is worth throwing a wrench in the whole system. It is not legitimate to do evil so that good may come about.

  • Wei

    I agree with the original post. We have an obligation as Catholics to care for the poor and the helpless in our society. Unfortunately, that often seems to take the narrow focus of making sure that all pregnancies come to term naturally and what happens to that individual after birth is of no concern.

    Health care should be completely divorced from employment. It is not fair to those who cannot work for corporations. Even with employment with insurance perks, not all employers offer equivalent kinds of insurance. No one should be stuck with the decision “Do I leave this crappy job (with good insurance) and get a better one which may not have insurance?” This has the greatest impact on those who are lower income since many of their jobs don’t offer insurance. I consider equitable access to health care to be a human right and we’re the only industrialized nation that leaves health in the hands of the market and for-profit companies. How well does the interest of a low-income person fair compare to a rich stockholder when dealing with for-profit interests?

    Yes, if we’re so “family oriented” why aren’t we out there supporting single mothers with jobs and other benefits that will help her better care for herself and her family? We should be providing all sorts of education, jobs, health, daycare and other such things.

    Finally, it can be perfectly legitimate for a Catholic woman to use birth control pills when these are given for treatment of medical conditions. Women deserve to have their medications covered as any of their medications would be.

    Besides, what gives us the right to control the morality of others? Are we Catholics going to tell everyone in the nation they can’t eat meat on Lenten Fridays? It isn’t only Catholic women who need to use the health care services. And even if it was Catholic women only…forcing people to obey Catholic rules goes contrary to free will.

  • Kurt

    I have to believe inspired by the Indiana Republican move to tell low income women that they cannot get otherwise covered health care from the willing provider of the patient’s choice, now the Texas Repulican Party has singularly demanded that the Service Employees International Union be banned from ever being invited to speak or present at a Texas public school.

  • Ronald King

    Jordan, I might be sheltered out here in the west but my impression is that there are millions of Catholics who live quite comfortably in the middle and upper middle incomes.

    • Jordan

      Ronald King [July 13, 2012 3:23 pm]: Jordan, I might be sheltered out here in the west but my impression is that there are millions of Catholics who live quite comfortably in the middle and upper middle incomes.

      Perhaps I should have been more balanced in my assessment. Indeed, there are those who will struggle to pay increased taxes. On the other hand, I was raised “comfortably”. Because of this, I should have recused myself from any discussion of income or class.

      I would not hasten to characterize “upper-income persons” as non-altruistic and materialistic in general. Still, even I have found myself torn between my liberal political sympathies and the real knowledge that progressive tax policies against the upper brackets would cut significantly into my parent’s hard-earned funds (parvenu, not brahmin, are we). Predictably, my parents will not vote against their economic interests. And yet, were the ACA truly just according to the moral and social teachings of the Church, would my parents and other wealthy Catholics be morally obliged to contribute to a more fair health care system? I cannot answer, as I did not earn the money. I also do not know if anyone can be ordered to perform works of charity.

      • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

        “I also do not know if anyone can be ordered to perform works of charity.”

        This came up in a previous post of mine:

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova/2011/04/09/is-almsgiving-charity-or-justice/

        Let me summarize by saying that at least some medieval theologians believed the state had the right in justice to compel the rich to give alms if they refused to do so out of charity.

      • Ronald King

        Jordan, My Father began as a coalminer before entering the Marines in WW2 and fighting in Guadal Canal. After returning home he became a carpenter and a father of 6. I never heard him complain about paying taxes and when the weather was good he would work two jobs a day, first his union job and then his independent work. Two and a half packs of cigarettes a day, lingering effects of malaria and about 5 hours of sleep a night did him in at age 59 and left Mom with very little financial security afterwards. In essence, we did learn how to live comfortably within our means and our medical help was there when needed which did not break the bank. Fear of death and the defense against this fear, which is greed, seems to have isolated us from one another even more now in terms of developing empathy for another’s suffering. However, there seems to be an undercurrent of hope developing with the new information technology that appears to have the potential to begin the process of connecting with each other again through the empathic pathways of our neurocircuitry if we can use this to once again become a face to face community based on mutual caring instead of mutual competition.

  • Jordan

    David [July 14, 2012 8:54 am]: Thank you for the link. It’s quite fascinating. It’s also especially pertinent in my case, in the very least.

    Ronald [July 14, 2012 9:46 am]: Fear of death and the defense against this fear, which is greed, seems to have isolated us from one another even more now in terms of developing empathy for another’s suffering.

    Ronald, let me first say that I deeply respect your childhood and experiences. Ours were not the same, but I can at the very least listen and try to understand others’ lives. I am not very good at this often, but I am learning. I used to avoid any talk about my upbringing. However I now know that we are all shaped in some way by our early experiences. Indeed, fear of death is a prime motivator of opinion over the ACA and health care in general. This fear is imbedded in human nature; one would think that the lived gospels are an antidote to the selfishness engendered by the fear of death.

    I must mention politics here. One reason why my Catholic belief and faith is waning fast is the “bourgeoisification” (!) of (white) American Catholicism. The last council taught that the movement is from triumphalism to a pilgrim church and not the opposite. The ascendancy of a politically conservative, monied, and upwardly mobile institutional American Catholicism has an air of arrival, of triumph, that cannot be masked by the self-righteous perfume of right-to-life activism or “religious liberty”. At the very moment that all Catholics should turn their faces to the undocumented immigrant, to the economically disadvantaged, to a just and heartfelt charity, to the reality that heterogenity of human culture and ethnicity is a strength of society, we have become blinded by a mirage of political power and a turgid self-righteous moralism. I am also convinced that this avarice is also imbedded in a deep fear of loss of control, of a death to a newfound economic and political power.

    I like to think that a privileged upbringing gives me greater insight into questions of political triumph and the gospels. In fact, this upbringing is a grave impediment precisely because I have not and do not know want. And so I must learn from you Ronald and others with a different perspective.

    • Ronald King

      Jordan, What you have written above is concrete proof to me that your faith is strong and that Wisdom is sharing Her Gift with you. Our Church needs you. In my youth I was ashamed of my roots. As I went through all of my self doubts and loathing I kept in mind one thing my Father said to me, “Face your fears.”. In my work I was forced to meet with people who, according to competitive values, were more intelligent, more successful and therefore more valuable than I. I now know that I was blessed with the family I was given to and I was blessed to loathe myself and commit the sins I committed. I was extremely blessed to be born very sensitive to my fears and weaknesses and not have the instinctive defenses of denial, dissociation, rationalization, intellectualization, etc. to protect me. I was given the gift of being transparent to assist me in facing the world honestly. If I wasn’t open and honest I would have panic attacks. I am blessed to be an introvert. I know how the outsiders feel to some extent and I know that american elitists in any political party are failures at knowing how to create a safe world for those who are most vulnerable. It is interesting to watch.

  • http://gravatar.com/austin7487 austin7487

    I don’t know about conservative arguments, but a Catholic one is the cost. One new estimate is $1.2 trillion dollars over the next ten years (another I’ve seen is 2.7.) Add to this that the figure of 45 million uninsured is false and the real number is closer to 8 – 9 million (see http://keithhennessey.com/2009/04/09/how-many-uninsured-people-need-additional-help-from-taxpayers/) This works out to $133,333 per uninsured person over the next ten years at the lower estimate and closer to $300,000 per person if the higher cost is correct. That’s $13,000-30,000 per year per person. The average individual policy in 2011 was roughly $2900 and for a family just shy of $5000.
    The ACA seems a tremendously inefficient and costly way to ensure health coverage

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

      May I ask where you got your data on the cost of health insurance. I have good, but not great coverage via my employer. Together, it costs over $19,000 per year. My contribution alone is more than $6,000.

      • http://gravatar.com/austin7487 austin7487

        There are different plans. Some cost more and some less. This is an average. A source for the information is here:

        http://news.ehealthinsurance.com/pr/ehi/document/2011_Cost__and__Benefits_Report_FINAL.pdf

        The Kaiser Foundation also has an estimate of costs that are higher than what I have above but nowhere near what your plans costs. My plan is also more expensive on average but I am with a Catholic Hospital and some of that increased cost is used to cover indigent care.

        • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

          It appears we are comparing apples and oranges. The document you link to is an analysis of individually purchased plans (all purchased through one company: EHealthInsurance). Kaiser Family reports that the average cost of family insurance in an employer sponsored plan is just over $15,000 per year. They also explain the reason for the difference: individual plans pay out considerably less and require (via deductibles, etc.) policy holders to pay considerably more of their health care costs out of pocket (about twice as much).

        • http://gravatar.com/austin7487 austin7487

          But while you quote 15k for a family, the 13 – 30 k I quoted to begin with are per individual. So the apples to compare are with the EHealth and not the Kaiser family numbers. As for what the plans will provide, that is still to be determined and, likely to be less under ACA than a premium plan.

          So still a significant increase in cost with the same coverage.

  • Ronald King

    Gees Kurt! FaithDirect sounds like a fundraiser for the Republican Party.

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

      That is a stretch. A bit of searching revealed that it is a corporation providing EFT and credit card payments for churches for their collections. (Something I support, by the way, though my parish refuses to think about it.) Faith Direct happens to be owned by someone who also does direct mailing and and other fundraising services for the Republican party and allied groups. In the little time I spent I could not sort out corporate ownership issues, but I suspect that this is a wholly owned subsidiary of a private company that also does (either directly or through other subsidiaries) funding raising.

      By analogy: should I worry that the elevator installed by my church came from a subsidiary of one of the leading defense contractors in the US?

      • Ronald King

        It could be a stretch, but I like your investigation skills. I never implied that anyone should worry. I found the connection interesting in the sense that there seems to be so many avenues for our money to go in directions that we may not want. It’s a damn matrix we live in and it seems we become more entangled with negative forces through our desire to take the easy way to do our business. Too many rabbit holes.
        FYI, check out William Dodd who was the ambassador to Germany before WW2. A book was recently written about him. The author’s name is Larsen.

      • Kurt

        That’s about right. You have a vendor whose principal work is to support the Republican Party and its political candidates. They also are being given money by the Archdiocese of Washington and several other dioceses. Some of the lay faithful do not want to help the Republican Party. Under the theory that all money is fungible, why should we objecting laypersons accept the Catholic Church giving money to a big time Republican operation?

        • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

          Well, with Thales, I think you need to show a bit more nuance about fungibility and links in the chain.

        • Kurt

          David,

          You have the Catholic Church giving money to an enterprise whose primary work is to promote the Republican Party and you have women uisng their public insurance at PP. Whats the difference on fungibility of money between the two?

          • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

            Kurt, as I suggested in my previous post, it was not clear to me after a bit of searching that Faith Direct is “an enterprise whose primary work is to promote the Republican Party.” It appears to be a wholly owned enterprise whose owner, through other business ventures, supports the Republican party. This is different, and a tighter link, than Thales’ comments about McDonalds. But it also appears to be a weaker link than saying Faith Direct is the direct operation of a company which supports the Republican party.

            In reading this, I realize in retrospect that I may be giving too much weight to the separateness of a wholly owned subsidiary in the context of small, privately owned firms. My other example: United Techologies (defense contractor) and it subsidiary Otis (elevators) relies on the much greater degree of separation that occurs in large, publicly traded conglomerates.

        • Kurt

          It appears to be a wholly owned enterprise whose owner, through other business ventures, supports the Republican party…. I realize in retrospect that I may be giving too much weight to the separateness of a wholly owned subsidiary in the context of small, privately owned firms.

          Mr. Walsh has several separately incorporated firms all owned and controlled by him, something to his advance for tax and liability reasons.

          PP affiliates are separate incorporations with boards of directors that are widely different in membership. Whatever the relationship of Walsh’s firms, they clearly are more tightly associated together than the various PP affiliates, some that don’t even do abortions.

  • Thales

    Kurt,

    I don’t know anything about this FaithDirect program. For me to understand the connection that Parishioner X in the pew has to funding the GOP, I’d have to know these facts:
    -What is FaithDirect? A company? A person? A corporation? Publicly owned? Privately owned?
    -What does FaithDirect do? Provide services? Products? What kinds of services?
    -How much does the diocese pay for these services? In other words, how much money does FaithDirect get from the diocese? (Wouldn’t it be very little, almost miniscule? The electronic debiting is a way for the Church to receive parishioners’ money. It doesn’t make sense for the Church to pay very much for that service.)
    -Who or what is giving money to the GOP? The Faith Direct company? Or an owner? Or an employee? And in what capacity is money being given to the GOP? A private donation? Or a contribution from FaithDirect’s profits? How much money is being given?
    -Are there any alternative companies offering electronic debiting service? How feasible are they? How much is their service?

    • Kurt

      Kurt,

      I don’t know anything about this FaithDirect program. For me to understand the connection that Parishioner X in the pew has to funding the GOP, I’d have to know these facts:
      -What is FaithDirect? A company? A person? A corporation? Publicly owned? Privately owned?

      FaithDirect is a program of Warfield and Walsh, one of the leading Republican fundraising operations in country. It is owned by Mr. Brian Walsh, who I would give credit as being one the most skilled Republican operatives in this country.

      How much does the diocese pay for these services? It would be in the six-figure range, although I think on the low end of that.

      Who or what is giving money to the GOP? The Faith Direct company? Or an owner? Or an employee? And in what capacity is money being given to the GOP? A private donation? Or a contribution from FaithDirect’s profits? How much money is being given?

      It is not a matter of an owner of a company making widgets giving some of his profit or earnings to the Republican Party. It is that the diocese is giving Church money to an operation who primary work is supporting and financing the Republican Party and Republican candidates. Church money is being given to an operation whose primary business is to promote the Republican Party and Republican candidates.

      • Thales

        Kurt,
        [shrug] My research makes it look to me that Faith Direct is a private company that offers a necessary service for a good price — it doesn’t look like “an operation whose primary work is supporting the GOP.” Where are you getting this information?

        Now I get that you don’t like the fact that the president of the company also happens to make donations to the GOP. But as I said above, there are some extra links in the chain here compared to the PP example.

        Let me ask you: do you object to your pastor buying cleaning supplies or hotdogs for the parish picnic from Walmart? If not, why do you think Faith Direct is different?

        • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

          In fairness to Kurt, this is more than “the president of the company also happens to make donations to the GOP.” It is part of a business enterprise whose main source of revenue is from supporting the GOP. It is worth asking the degree of connection between Faith Direct and the other parts of the company or companies. See my previous comments.

        • Thales

          David,

          Yeah, I don’t see that “it is part of a business enterprise whose main source of revenue is from supporting the GOP.” Where are you getting this from? My research on FaithDirect’s website seems to indicate that it’s a private company in the business of electronic debiting, and that it is owned by an individual who privately (or through other channels) donates to a variety of conservative and GOP organizations. I guess I don’t yet see how this is different from my pastor doing business with Bob’s Carpet Cleaning, while knowing that Bob is a big Democratic supporter.

          Also, the diocese is obviously paying for a service. Kurt says that the diocese is paying in the six-figure range; but that doesn’t tell us how much Faith Direct is pocketing as net profit from the business relationship (ie., most of the money the diocese is paying to FaithDirect goes into the cost of running the program). And we don’t know if there are any alternatives for electronic debiting. So there are a few other unknowns here.

        • Kurt

          and that it is owned by an individual who privately (or through other channels) donates to a variety of conservative and GOP organizations.

          As I’ve repeatedly stated, it is not a matter of Brian Walsh as an individual donating money to the Republican Party from his personal funds. It is a matter than Warfield & Walsh, which owns FaithDirect, is primarily a Republican operation and primarily works to advance the Republican Party and Republican candidates. So we have the Catholic Church giving undreds of thousands of Church dollars to an operation that is primarily pushing for promotion of the GOP agenda.

        • Thales

          It is a matter than Warfield & Walsh, which owns FaithDirect, is primarily a Republican operation and primarily works to advance the Republican Party and Republican candidates. So we have the Catholic Church giving undreds of thousands of Church dollars to an operation that is primarily pushing for promotion of the GOP agenda.

          Okay, let’s assume that the Warfield&Walsh operation owns FaithDirect and also (primarily) does things to advance the GOP. (By the way, what do you mean by this? What does W&W primarily do to advance the GOP?) Assuming that W&W owns FaithDirect and W&W primarily does GOP-favorable things, I don’t know that that changes the scenario that much. The Catholic Church is not just giving money to W&W to then be used for GOP-favorable things. The Church is paying W&W for a service.

          I don’t see any essential difference between this and my pastor paying Bob’s Carpet Company to clean the church carpets, even though Bob’s Carpet Company is a big Democratic donor, primarily does most of its jobs for Democrats and the Democratic party, and even volunteers its carpet cleaning service for Democratic functions at no cost. (Admittedly, there is a difference in the scope, namely the amount of money paid by the Church for the service and the amount of money or help that Bob’s/W&W gives to the political party. But I don’t see any essential difference between the two. And I think you (and maybe David?) are saying that there is an essential difference between the two. But I don’t see it yet.)

          As I said, the size of the payment/influence might be a factor in a church/pastor’s decision in hiring a company for a service. I also said earlier that the availability of other options is a factor here too. If there are plenty of other carpet cleaning companies, maybe the pastor shouldn’t go with someone so political and avoid the indirect connection to the Democratic initiatives, and same with the diocese with W&W.

        • Kurt

          By the way, what do you mean by this? What does W&W primarily do to advance the GOP?

          They are a political consulting firm that exclusively works on the Republican side.

          The Catholic Church is not just giving money to W&W to then be used for GOP-favorable things. The Church is paying W&W for a service.

          That is contrary to what I have been told, namely that all money is fungible, even when it is given in exchange for a specific, unobjectionable service, say like……pap smears.

        • Thales

          Kurt,

          Heh. I know that nuance isn’t your strength. As I said above, all money is fungible, which means we’re always connected to evil or to people and institutions which harm the common good. But we can still make judgment calls about (1) what institution is worse than another, (2) which connection is closer than another, and (3) whether the connection is more or less necessary or avoidable under the circumstances. Consider each point in turn:

          1. Is PP more or less harmful to the common good than the GOP? In my mind, PP is worse than any political party, whether GOP or Dem., but maybe you truly think the GOP is worse than PP. I think that’s an odd position to hold, but whatever, let’s call that one a draw.

          2. Paying an entity or person for a service or product, and then that entity goes and does bad act B with their profit independently from the service or product offered vs. giving an entity money that is in the business of doing both good act A and bad act B. I think the connection is closer in the latter.

          3. If you’ve been paying attention, one of my main points in this thread is that money for pap smears to PP is unnecessary because there are plenty of other options (and that money to PP is being wasted because it would better help women if used elsewhere). I’m still unsure about whether there is another electronic debit option.

          Regardless, thanks for the conversation! Your counterpoint made me think through my thoughts more carefully.

        • Kurt

          Thales,

          I have not disputed your points #1 and #3. It is on #2 where you fall down.

          PP and FaithDirect work exactly the same way. They are paid money for a particular service in exchange for delivering that service. This is my problem with the campaign against PP — the lack of any consistent standard for the claims of the fungibility of money. I could respect any consistent standard, but instead its critics make things up.

          PP is paid $10 to do a pap smear — money is fungible and is being used on the abortion side of their business. The Catholic Church gives $10 to Warfield & Walsh for an enrollee in FaithDirect — that money is not fungible and does not go to the political side of W&W. In fact, there is no difference.

          For many years (decades, actually) I was perfectly happy to see the attacks on PP, an organization I agree does not do good because of its involvement in abortion. Its critics were inconsistent on fungibility but no more than everyone else was and I took the view that I need not correct every minor failing and inconsistency in the world and to the degree I would, PP certainly would not be my priority.

          It has only been the recent escalated rhetoric and accusations from the right-wing wish has pushed me in the other direction. I realize my change is what they want — to push decent, fair minded people out of the pro-life movement and have it serve the interests of secular conservativism even if that means being dishonest.

          Defending the unborn is important. But no cause is so important it justifies dishonesty and misstating the facts and undermining civil society.

        • Thales

          Kurt,

          If someone is saying that there is no problem about giving FaithDirect money because money is not fungible, then they’re incorrect. Money is fungible, and it’s wrong to deny it. I suspect that such people are mixing up the notion of fungibility with the notion of how many chain links there are. That’s my point in #2 — the chain links between giving money and the evil. As there are more chain links, it’s harder to see that giving money is cooperating with evil, and so some people might think that there is no cooperation with evil. But they’re wrong, because there is always indirect cooperation through the chain links because money is fungible.

          You say that “PP and FaithDirect work exactly the same way. They are paid money for a particular service in exchange for delivering that service.” Okay, true. But that doesn’t take into account the chain links of my point #2.

          Consider:
          A. I give money to PP for a good service (pap smears). PP uses my money to do an abortion (an evil).

          B. I give money to Faith Direct for a good service (e-debiting). Faith Direct’s money goes to W&W. W&W uses the money to support a political candidate X (and there is nothing inherently evil with that). Political candidate X votes for questionable policy Y. Under questionable policy Y, person Z does an evil (say, torturing a war prisoner).

          Or to simplify it even more, take my McDonalds example, example C: I give money to McDonalds for a good service (hamburger). McDonalds gives money to PP. PP uses that money for an abortion. I see a difference in the chain links between example C and example A. Do you?

        • Kurt

          You give money to PP for a good service (pap smears). PP uses my money to do an abortion (an evil). Okay. The Church gives money to W&W for a good service (delivering an electronic tithe system). W& W uses the Church’s money to fundraise for Republicans. (private conscience can judge the good or evil or neutrality of that act, I’m just trying to establish a consistent measure of connection).

          I don’t see any difference in the number of chain links. Maybe I was not clear that I was not speaking about the electronic tithe that the parishioner gives but the six-figure payment the diocese makes to W&W.

          Are we agreed that yes the Catholic Church is giving a six figure sum of Church money to a Republican political operation but that the point of further discernment is not the money connection but one’s evaluation of the GOP?

          Money is fungible, and it’s wrong to deny it.

          Is this a moral proposition Catholics are bound to?

        • Thales

          You give money to PP for a good service (pap smears). PP uses my money to do an abortion (an evil). Okay. The Church gives money to W&W for a good service (delivering an electronic tithe system). W& W uses the Church’s money to fundraise for Republicans. (private conscience can judge the good or evil or neutrality of that act, I’m just trying to establish a consistent measure of connection). I don’t see any difference in the number of chain links.

          Hhmm, I think maybe there is some conflating of my points #1 and #2 going on here. Fundraising for a politician is not an evil, in and of itself, unlike the act of committing an abortion. It can only be characterized as an evil, only in relation to the fact that this the elected politician or political party does an evil later. Another way of saying it is that PP is in the business of doing evil act A, while W&W is not in the business of doing evil act B — it’s in the business of fundraising for politicians (a neutral act) who might in turn support or vote for evil act B. (In fact, there might be another chain link in there, since it’s not the politician who does evil act B — he votes for a policy enabling another person to do evil act B).

          Of course, if you characterize the evils in the two scenarios as “doing an abortion” and “fundraising for a GOP candidate” and see them as equivalent, there’s the same number of chain links. But it seems to me that there’s some conflating of my points #1 and #2 if you do that.

          Are we agreed that yes the Catholic Church is giving a six figure sum of Church money to a Republican political operation

          If you notice up above, I was going along with this, for purposes of argument, assuming this was the case. But I can’t say that I’m convinced, as I haven’t figured out if you think there is an essential difference between this situation and my WalMart and Bob’s Carpet examples. (Maybe there is no essential difference, and you’d object to the Church contracting with Walmart too.)

          Is this a moral proposition Catholics are bound to?

          Nope. Just commenting on the people you encounter who argue money isn’t fungible and therefore there is no concern with giving money to PP or to W&W.

        • Kurt

          Of course, if you characterize the evils in the two scenarios as “doing an abortion” and “fundraising for a GOP candidate” and see them as equivalent, there’s the same number of chain links.

          Thank you. That was my point. (although maybe modified in that it does not depend on being exactly equivalent in degree of evil, but that a person might privately discern it is objectionable enough that they do not want their fungible money going to a Republican operation).

          Having worked for organizations that had government contracts and knowing the separation of contract funds and other funds, I’m still not convinced on your theory that all money is fungible. But you have also convinced me that the stern warnings my group received from some church officials not to “go public and make an issue of this” is unwarranted. I thank you for your counsel. If the Church is giving money to a partisan Republican operation, the lay faithful should know this. The Church can then advise them what they can do with this information. The Church shouldn’t be shy explaining this in a public forum.

          Fundraising for a politician is not an evil, in and of itself,…

          I appreciate that. I expect in the coming months we will hear from some Catholics and others that fundraising, voting for, campaigning for the President or Mr. Romney is an evil act. I think it will benefit both the community of faith and the body politic that people like you and me can stand up say about both the President and Mr. Romney that these are not evil act in and of itself, but matters of careful discernment (or for those of us outside of battleground states, maybe casual discernment!)

        • Thales

          Heh. I didn’t give you any counsel. I said that I think you’re conflating the relevant considerations.

  • http://gravatar.com/austin7487 austin7487

    Here are further problems of the ACA from a study sponsored by the then Democratic Gov. of Wisconsin. Good reasons to oppose the original legislation.

    “– 100,000 people will be dropped by their employer-sponsored health insurance;
    — 59 percent of people who buy their own health insurance will experience an average premium increase of 31 percent;
    — 150,000 people will stop buying health insurance in the private sector and will instead become dependent on the government and taxpayers;
    — Between 2014 and 2019, Obamacare could cost Wisconsin taxpayers $1.12 billion; after all federal aid and tax credits are applied, the state’s portion of the bill will be $433 million; and
    — Approximately 122,000 parents, caretakers and pregnant women with an income of more than 133 percent of the federal poverty level will no longer be eligible for Medicaid.”

    Full link here:

    http://www.twincities.com/opinion/ci_21071223/scott-walker-wisconsin-obamacare-is-not-remedy