The pope and Palin: Two views on health care

I just came across a report on Sarah Palin’s new book about the same time I caught up with a CNS report on Pope Benedict’s talk on health care that was read at the 25th International Conference of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry. The conference was held at the Vatican.

One of the brief passages cited from the Palin book was her take on health care and its reform.

The contrasts in the language underlying the two views, create, in my view, a stunning and graphic lesson in the difference between public policy that is based on a kind of religion of individualism and policy that takes into consideration the larger, common good.

(For a deeper consideration of the pope's speech and how it may intersect with health care politics in the United States, I highly recommend looking in on the piece by David Gibson on the Politics Daily Web site.)

Of President Obama’s health care legislation, Palin writes: “They seemed to think we could be bribed by pie-in-the-sky promises; that we were gullible enough to believe that government could manufacture a new 'right' to health care and we wouldn't pay the price with our freedom.”

The pope, on the other hand, spoke of health care justice, according to the CNS story:

"Justice requires guaranteed universal access to health care," he said, adding that the provision of minimal levels of medical attention to all is "commonly accepted as a fundamental human right."

Governments are obligated, therefore, to adopt the proper legislative, administrative and financial measures to provide such care along with other basic conditions that promote good health, such as food security, water and housing, the cardinal said.

Private health insurance companies, he said, should conform to human rights legislation and see to it that "privatization not become a threat to the accessibility, availability and quality of health care goods and services."

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