The Democratic think tank has released a “fact sheet” explaining how the party’s health-care legislation is totally consistent with Catholic teaching as long as you ignore that whole abortion thing. The fact sheet purports to show that the bills reflect the criteria that the U.S. Catholic bishops’ conference laid out in a May statement.
You’d never guess it from the “fact sheet,” but the bishops have repeatedly affirmed that Catholic teaching considers abortion and euthanasia particularly grave injustices and warned against treating them as items on a checklist. That’s why the bishops’ first and most specific comment in their statement is about abortion and euthanasia.
And when the bishops say that all people should have “ready access to quality, comprehensive, and affordable health care,” that doesn’t even mean that they have endorsed universal coverage, let alone a specific legislative attempt to come closer to it. Still less does it mean that Catholic social teaching requires us to support that attempt.
The fact sheet simply assumes that the Reid and Pelosi bills will improve the quality and affordability of health care and suggests that they therefore comport with Catholic teaching. It is certainly true that a Catholic may in good faith believe these things and support the legislation. But a Catholic might also reasonably conclude that the Pelosi and Reid bills will reduce the quality and raise the cost of health care and oppose them on that basis. (More reasonably, I’d say!) The bishops have supplied no argument that might change that Catholic’s mind; nor, contrary to the impression provided by a lot of the press coverage, have they tried to do so.