National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Let's agree: Health care is a human right, yes?

 |  NCR Today

Do you ever listen to C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” in the morning? The moderators announce a topic and then welcome callers with every conceivable opinion on that subject. The fare ranges from brilliant to idiotic.

Recently, health care reform has been a focus. I have to admit that I shudder inside when I hear callers express sentiments like this: “Well, I worked hard all my life, and I have good health insurance. Why should I worry about all these people who don’t have it? It’s their responsibility to do something about it.”

I find myself answering them out loud: “As if they COULD do something about it!” I think about the 40-50 million who don’t have it either because they can’t afford it, have lost their jobs, or have been denied because of a pre-existing condition.

I often wish that our preachers – Catholic and otherwise – would emphasize the concept at the core of our social teaching: the common good. We are indeed responsible for one another. I do need to worry that my neighbor does not have health insurance. This sense of the “common good” might mean chipping in (sometimes called “taxes”) so that everyone has access to health insurance. It might mean working for a system where the profit motive does not raise prices beyond reach (for me, that’s “single payer” or at least a “public option”).

Francis-cartoon-book.jpgGet NCR's newest book: The Chronicles of Francis, the Cartoon Strip, featuring cartoons from the popular series Francis.
Buy it now!

We might not agree on the specifics of what needs to be done, but surely we Catholics can recognize that health care is a human right, and that we have responsibility for one another. Isn’t that what the “common good” is all about?

Enjoy this article?
Help support more like it by donating today!

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Friends of NCR 300x80 web ad.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

August 28-September 10, 2015

08-27-2015.jpg

Some articles are only available in the print newspaper and Kindle edition.