There are two main kinds of Catholic opposition to healthcare reform coming from that vague place that we might call “the Right”: On the one hand, there are those who critique of the very idea of a government providing medical care to its citizens. On the other hand, there are those who, unlike the previous objection, support the notion of universal medical care, yet, find the details in the bills that have been presented to be morally off-putting.
I admit that I have a hard time distinguishing between the two, and have wondered at times whether this distinction is clear to many of them. (Dearest Blackadder, I know you are of the second, more respectable, variety.) Nonetheless, there is something that they both have in common: Neither of them have much interest, if any, in enrolling in the medical care that would be offered by the government in these bills. So, in that sense, even the second variety has a bit of the first’s distaste for being (personally) enrolled in a government healthcare plan.
In other words, it seems uncontroversial to generalize that much of the opposition to the healthcare bills presented so-far, is disinterested in getting health care from the government. If reasonable options exists, they would seem to prefer to get their own from a private corporation.
At the same time, many of them are working very hard to ensure that the medical care that would be tax-funded would be as moral as possible. Moral healthcare is, of course, what they mean by ‘good’ healthcare. It lacks immoral things such as abortion funding, limitation on conscience rights; and includes—here is the strange thing—options for those who wish to not be enrolled in government healthcare.
This is ‘good,’ moral healthcare: A bill that provides universal coverage without the expansion of abortion rights, the limitation of conscience rights, and allows ways for people to opt out if they want to. What is striking about these three criteria is that they create a potential conflict. While one and two (abortion and conscience rights) deal with what are explicitly moral issues, three (non-governmental options) is simply a way to express what I said earlier: None of these critics wants Uncle Sam to be their healthcare provider.
But here is the dilemma: What if the critics of healthcare and advocates against abortion provisos and limited conscience rights got everything they asked for?
If they got it all, or even a significant portion of it, it may very well be the case that they become morally obliged to enroll in government healthcare on same moral grounds as their objections that amended it. After all, corporate insurance already has a great deal of nasty provisos and many other things that their premiums already support.In the case of a well-negotiated healthcare bill, the ‘goodness’ of the government option might outright exceed the ‘goodness’ of their current providers. In that case, it seems that issue three (having non-governmental options) becomes something of a moot point. If there is a less morally-objectionable government option available at a reasonable cost, then, are we not required to enroll in it over the more objectionable, morally speaking, corporate options?
Here we see that a ‘good’ healthcare bill could be a very ‘bad’ (read: inconvenient) idea for those who oppose it because it would force them actually use the healthcare they are trying to provide to the poor and the uninsured—but certainly not for themselves. If those details get ironed-out relative to the ignored details of corporate options, then, they would have effectively denied themselves the option to do anything but participate in the morally better, government option.
But this all hypothetical. Here is a very real challenge: Those who express moral objections to the healthcare bill should read the fine print of their current health plans and be sure that they are not advocating against the very kinds of things that they already pay for. Or, in the case of those in Congress, since most of them already secure a healthcare plan via the Fed in some way, then, maybe they should stop saying that the government can’t do anything right when it comes to healthcare. (Unless, they truly don’t like the Cadillac coverage that Congress gets.) It is empirically untrue in their own good-health and awfully whiny and unattractive.
If the healthcare plans that objectors are presently enrolled in cover things like abortion (or anything else they find objectionable), then, they must find a better option to enroll in. If that option happens to be the bill they advocate for, then, they have effectively tied their hands from being able to exercise those sacred “private” options. After all, there is nothing “optional” about doing the best thing, all things considered.
So, to those who are using moral reasoning as a way to politic against healthcare: Be careful what you wish for.