25 July 2017

The Basis on healthcare

XI. 3. For the Church, the problem of personal and national health is not an external and purely social, because it has a direct bearing on her mission in the world damaged by sin and infirmities. The Church is called to participate, in collaboration with state structures and concerned public circles, in the development of such a conception of national healthcare whereby every person would exercise his right to spiritual, physical and mental health and social welfare under maximum life expectancy.

The doctor-patient relationships should be built on respect for the integrity, free choice and dignity of the personality. It is inadmissible to manipulate him even for the best purposes. The Church cannot but welcomes the development of doctor-patient dialogue taking place in medicine today. This approach is definitely rooted in the Christian tradition, though there is a temptation to reduce it to a purely contractual level. At the same time, it should be admitted that the traditional «paternalistic» model of doctor-patient relations, rightly criticised for frequent attempts to justify the doctor’s arbitrariness, can also offer a truly paternal approach to the patient, determined by the morality of the doctor.

Without giving preference to any organisational model of medical aid, the Church believes that this aid should be maximum effective and accessible to all members of society, regardless of their financial means and social status, also in the situation of limited medical resources. To make the distribution of these resources truly equitable, the criterion of «vital needs» should prevail over that of «market relations». The doctor should not link the measure of his responsibility for giving medical aid exclusively with the financial reward and its amount, turning his profession into a source of enrichment. At the same time, worthy payment for the work of medical workers appears to be an important task for society and state.
Our current system in the United States clearly does not qualify this basic minimum standard, and we are not even addressing the correct issues to be able to make it so. Meanwhile, the Republican proposal to ‘fix’ it would double the number of people without access to affordable care, or insurance to help pay for it. The ultimate irony and demonstration of this evil, is that the deciding vote is cast, against the interests of millions of the poorest Americans, by a rich man whose government-funded insurance plan covers treatment for his case of brain cancer. This is the kind of depraved moral universe that so much of the Beltway inhabits.

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