The Corner

Health Care as a Right

One of Newsweek’s Catholic experts says that the Church teaches that health care is a right and that it must therefore be provided by the government. I’m sure you could find some bishops who agree with that policy idea, but no, the Catholic Church has no such teaching. Anthony Stevens-Arroyo elaborates: “Universal health care – or expanded insurance care on the way to universal coverage – in a true democracy is not intrusion of a third party between the people and an insurance company, but rather the people’s collective tool against injustice in pursuit of profits. This is the Catholic position, taught by the bishops of this country and in accord with papal teaching.” Sorry, no, this just isn’t the case, except for that very last bit (support for “universal health care” may be consistent with papal teaching but it is not necessitated by it). Stevens-Arroyo’s question-begging claim that a bigger governmental role in health care is “pro-life,” meanwhile, completely ignores the question of whether national health insurance would include payment for abortion. But then given Stevens-Arroyo’s repeated posts trashing anti-abortion laws, his declarations about what’s “pro-life” and what isn’t probably won’t be treated as authoritative by anyone who cares about the label.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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