Archbishop Chaput: Lessons from the Healthcare Debacle

Four Lessons Learned From The

Government Takeover of Healthcare

Archbishop Charles Chaput-As current federal health-care legislation moves forward toward law, we need to draw several lessons from events of the last weeks and months:

First, the bill passed by the House on March 21 is a failure of decent lawmaking.  It has not been “fixed.”  It remains unethical and defective on all of the issues pressed by the U.S. bishops and prolife groups for the past seven months.

Second, the Executive Order promised by the White House to ban the use of federal funds for abortion does not solve the many problems with the bill, which is why the bishops did not — and still do not – see it as a real solution. Executive Orders can be rescinded or reinterpreted at any time.  Some current congressional leaders have already shown a pattern of evasion, ill will and obstinacy on the moral issues involved in this legislation, and the track record of the White House in keeping its promises regarding abortion-related issues does not inspire confidence.  The fact that congressional leaders granted this one modest and inadequate concession only at the last moment, and only to force the passage of this deeply flawed bill, should give no one comfort.

Third, the combination of pressure and disinformation used to break the prolife witness on this bill among Democratic members of Congress – despite the strong resistance to this legislation that continues among American voters – should put an end to any talk by Washington leaders about serving the common good or seeking common ground. Words need actions to give them flesh.  At many points over the past seven months, congressional leaders could have resolved the serious moral issues inherent in this legislation.  They did not.  No shower of reassuring words now can wash away that fact.

Fourth, self-described “Catholic” groups have done a serious disservice to justice, to the Church, and to the ethical needs of the American people by undercutting the leadership and witness of their own bishops. For groups like Catholics United, this is unsurprising.  In their effect, if not in formal intent, such groups exist to advance the interests of a particular political spectrum.  Nor is it newsworthy from an organization like Network, which – whatever the nature of its good work — has rarely shown much enthusiasm for a definition of “social justice” that includes the rights of the unborn child.

But the actions of the Catholic Health Association (CHA) in providing a deliberate public counter-message to the bishops were both surprising and profoundly disappointing; and also genuinely damaging.  In the crucial final days of debate on health-care legislation, CHA lobbyists worked directly against the efforts of the American bishops in their approach to members of Congress.  The bad law we now likely face, we owe in part to the efforts of the Catholic Health Association and similar “Catholic” organizations.

Here in Colorado, many thousands of ordinary, faithful Catholics, from both political parties, have worked hard over the past seven months to advance sensible, legitimate health-care reform; the kind that serves the poor and protects the rights of the unborn child, and immigrants, and the freedom of conscience rights of health-care professionals and institutions.

Archbishop Charles Chaput (with slight editing)

Your Comments

  • What do you think will be the biggest concern with the new health bill?
  • Who disappointed you most?  Who stood tall?
  • What do you think?
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1 comment to Archbishop Chaput: Lessons from the Healthcare Debacle

  • Great post Jeff!

    The Catholic Health Association (CHA) showed their true colors with this bill. Quite the Judas Jr. they have become. Prayer and Penance are needed!

    Now we now know the enemy. And this is a good thing. A directed prayer willed by God is always more powerful than general ones we come up with.

    They came out of the shadows to reveal their hearts. Unfortunately, their hearts need more healing then their Health Care Bill can provide. I would suggest CHA find a new provider to heal their hearts, but I don’t think they realize their hearts are bleeding.

    Thank God we win the war!

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