Florida Bishop Weighs in on Health Care Reform

Says US Prelates Aren’t Giving up the Debate

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ORLANDO, Florida, SEPT. 11, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The bishop of Orlando is affirming that the U.S. prelates are not going to give up the debate and the appeal for «genuine» health care reform that respects life.

Bishop Thomas Wenski affirmed this in an article published Wednesday in the Orlando Sentinel.

He addressed the current national debate over health care reform, which has «generated much heat and little light.»

The prelate underlined the position of the U.S. Catholic bishops, affirming the need for «reform that leads to health care for all.»

«Any reform should aim at health care that is accessible, affordable and respects the life and dignity of every human being from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death,» he asserted.

The prelate stressed the Church’s knowledge in the field, as «an employer and thus a purchaser of health care» as well as «a provider of health care.»

Furthermore, he stated, «in our parishes, our pantries, our Catholic Charities offices, we strive to help the people who have fallen through the cracks — those who are not served or who are underserved by our present system of health care delivery.»

Thus, the bishop said, «we bring no little experience to the debate.»

Fundamental issue

He affirmed: «We support truly universal access to health care. We want care accessible and affordable to the poor and vulnerable. 

«We champion efforts to improve efficiency and quality while restraining costs and applying them equitably across the spectrum of payers.»

Bishop Wenski stated, «For the Church, the fundamental issue is one of human life and dignity.»

For this reason, he explained, the bishops’ conference «has remained engaged in the current debate» so that, «through dialogue over principles and policies» they can «ensure that any enacted legislation will be something positive.»

«At any rate,» the prelate said, «we continue to insist that health care reform is too important and legitimate a goal to allow it to be hijacked by destructive agendas.»

«As the debate continues,» he stated, «the bishops will continue to advocate for health care reform that is truly universal and that protects human life at every stage of development.»

Bishop Wenski concluded: «Our government and laws must also retain explicit protection for the freedom of conscience of health care workers and health care institutions. 

«Genuine health care reform that protects the life and dignity of all is a moral imperative and a vital national obligation.»

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