“Health care reform is a good thing,” New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan told CNA on Wednesday during in interview in Phoenix, Arizona. However, if it “leads to the destruction of life, then we say it’s no longer health care at all – it’s unhealthy care and we can’t be part of that.”
Responding to a question about the Catholic Church’s view health care reform, Archbishop Dolan explained to CNA that the Church regards health care reform as a good thing. “The Catholic Church has been saying that for a long time,” he explained, adding that because of our human dignity, “means that one has access to quality affordable first rate health care.”
Speaking directly to President Obama’s current initiative to reform health care, the archbishop said that “in principle” the Church says, “bravo!” “That having been said, the devil is in the details,” he warned. While the Church agrees on the “what,” namely, “on the reform and renewed, reinvigorated health care,” it has some things to say on how it is carried out.
The Archbishop of New York explained that the first thing that needs to be said is that “every health care system exists only to serve human life, not the other way around.”
“Human life is not some commodity, some customer, some cog that is at the service of a bigger system or some bureaucratic network,” but rather, it is “the end in itself and health care is how it is protected.” If health care begins to lead to the “destruction of human life” through avenues such as abortion, end of life care, or the discarding human embryos, then “we say it’s no longer health care at all.
“It’s unhealthy care and we can’t be part of that,” Archbishop Dolan stated. While some people question the Church’s involvement in the debate surrounding health care reform, Dolan insisted that the Church should have a voice in the health care debate “because nearly one out of every five patients in the United States who is in a hospital is under the embrace of the Church in a Catholic health care network.”
“So please listen to us because we’ve been in this business a heck of a long time,” he said recalling that members of the Catholic Church were the ones who “opened up the first clinics, hospitals and health care networks.” “Don’t exclude us now because you might be uncomfortable with the very values that gave rise to this magnificent network,” he urged.