Wednesday, January 5, 2011

To Answer Your Questions about Health Care

Last post I mentioned something about the Pope issuing a statement for health care coverage. I was referring to this article. The basic jest of it is that he said that pharmaceutical companies were making a buck and that people deserve (especially the poor) basic health care.

From here on out, these are my thoughts. I don't speak for anyone, but what I think all that stuff meant.

He referred to health care access as a "universal right." So if your just looking at here in the States and not globally (where elsewhere health care is worse), then those who do not qualify for insurance because A) they are self-employed and single B) make too much money to qualify for Medicade or Medicare or C) have a pre-existing condition that insurance companies won't cover, the Pope is basically saying that we/they have a right to health care access. One could say that yes, we can walk into any ol' doctor's office and receive treatment, but if you have no money to cover the cost, then it's more likely that you will let your condition worsen until it becomes life threatening. Also as far as medication is concerned, a pharmacist isn't going to do a payment program with you like a doctor might. If you can't afford your medication, then you don't receive it. So if nothing else, one could argue that Pope is saying that Americans who are uninsured or underinsured should receive medications at lower or no cost. There are some pharmaceutical companies out there who agree and have programs for just that, but not all drug companies are like that.

Priest's wife poses the question about should an 85 year old man receive a heart bypass or a long time smoker receiving new lungs. This is the area of bioethisists (sp?) and there are teams of them throughout the world and in the US. I don't claim to be one, but I do think that every life is sacred. And this is something that the Pope shares with me. From cradle to grave every life is sacred and therefore it is, dare I say it, our Christian duty to ensure people the right to good health. God judges the human heart and as far as I know the 85 year old man may have eaten bad food or the long time smoker should have cut back, but that's for God's judgment and the discernment of the two patients if they were gluttonous. And even if they messed up and realized it, they still have the right to repent and start anew. But again, that's my opinion. Plus one could say that the 85 year old is in otherwise perfect health. Do we have the right to decide he's too old to live?

As for the fertility treatments, there are clear guidelines already in place about that. Pope John Paul II's encyclical clearly outlines that fertility treatments are perfectly fine as long as it does not impede the natural conception process that God designed. In other words, medications and surgeries, for example, to clear out scar tissue inside the fallopian tubes are perfectly fine because they help aid conception. IVF, where an egg and sperm is removed and made into an embryo to be reinserted in the woman, is immoral because this is not how God intended conception to be. He intended it to happen through sexual intercourse. So just to reiterate this for the confused, you can have fertility treatments help aid conception through sexual intercourse, but you cannot have a child conceived outside of sexual intercourse through things like artificial insemination or IVF. Make sense? So most diocese's cover fertility treatments that help aid conception.

And to further throw a monkey wrench into all things about fertility, you can use birth control as a medication to control a medical problem. You just can't use it for impeding fertility. So even most dioceses across the country allow woman who suffer from anemia or endometriosis to receive prescriptions of birth control pills to help control their medical conditions. If you want to read my discussion on the topic, click here.

I hope that you take away from this one major thing: that all moral issues and sin in general is based on two things 1) what your intention is and 2) did you realize that it was wrong. If your intention is a good one that follows God's moral law to protect all life, then you are perfectly moral. And if you didn't realize that things like IVF were immoral, then you've only committed a venial sin (and I need to talk to your priest). I'm wondering if Celine Deon didn't realize it at the time. She says she's Catholic and she's baptized her children as such, but anyways...that's more for the upcoming post that you voted on.

Til then!

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I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!