Thursday, September 10, 2009

Health care re-boot

President Obama's speech last night seemed like the necessary re-boot health care reform needs. After all, there is a learning curve to governing well. His administration's initial attempt to push a bloated and unwieldy bill through Congress before the recess was doomed to failure. I wrote about this tactic, one also employed by the Bush Adminstration as it lurched and sputtered toward its catastrophic end, for Il Sussidiario back in July: A tired line of political argumentation.

Even when you have a large majorities in both houses, it is a good idea to build consensus on such a broad-reaching issue. President Clinton discovered this early in his first term. Let's hope we can move forward now and achieve the kind of reform our country needs, the reform to which virtually everyone is committed. This means differentiating between ends and means, as well as listening to the concerns of citizens on all sides of the debate.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have articulated a four-point position on the ends to be achieved:

1) a truly universal health policy with respect for human life and dignity

2) access for all with a special concern for the poor and inclusion of legal immigrants

3) pursuing the common good and preserving pluralism including freedom of conscience and variety of options

4) restraining costs and applying them equitably across the spectrum of payers

It is up to Congress now to work and compromise about how to achieve these important goals. If health care is a human right, why not include illegal immigrants by at least giving them access to basic and necessary medical services?

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