Policy Briefs

Health Care 1992

June 1992

It has long been the position of the Catholic Church that every person has the basic right to adequate health care. As recently as November of 1991 the Catholic Bishops of the United States endorsed a statement of the United States Catholic Conference “Putting Children and Families First.” The statement in part says, “Our nation’s continuing failure to guarantee access to quality health care for all people exacts its most painful toll in the preventable sickness, disability, and deaths of infants and children. Beginning with our children and their mothers, we must extend access to quality health care to all our people.”

The Iowa Catholic Conference supports health care reform efforts that will insure a desired level of health care for all Americans and Iowans without regard to their ability to pay. Specifically, we hereby adopt the 1991 criteria of the United States Catholic Conference Department of Domestic and Social

Development in regard to evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of any proposals concerning health care reform.

These are:

  • Universal Access. Whether it provides ready universal access to comprehensive health care for every person living in the United States.
  • Priority Concern for the Poor. Whether it gives special priority to meeting the most pressing health care needs of the poor and underserved, insuring that they receive quality health services.
  • Respect for Life. Whether it preserves and enhances the sanctity and dignity of human life from its beginning to its end.
  • Comprehensive Benefits. Whether it provides comprehensive benefits sufficient to maintain and promote good health, to treat disease, injury, and disability appropriately, and to care for persons who are chronically ill or dying; and whether it ensures government’s responsibility for the public health of the population.
  • Pluralism. Whether it allows and encourages the involvement of the public and private sectors, including the voluntary, religious, and non-profit sectors, in the delivery of care and services; and whether it ensures respect for religious and ethical values in the delivery of health care for consumers and for individual and institutional providers.
  • Equitable Financing. Whether it assures society’s obligation to finance universal access to comprehensive health care in an equitable fashion, based on ability to pay; and whether proposed cost-sharing arrangements are designed to avoid creating barriers to effective care for the poor and vulnerable.
  • Cost Containment and Controls. Whether it creates effective cost containment measures that reduce waste, inefficiency, and unnecessary care, that control rising costs of competition, commercialism, and administration, and that provide incentives to individuals and providers for effective and economical use of limited resources.
  • Quality. Whether it promotes the development of processes and standards that will help to achieve equity in the range and quality of services, in the training of providers, and in the informed participation of consumers in individual and societal decision-making on health care.

We will work to reform Iowa health care through the Social Concerns Committee of the Conference. We will seek and assist in development of health care reform programs that will assure quality and affordable health care for all Iowans.

June 1992