Stupak-Mills and the Economics of Anti-Abortionism

I have no doubt that the Catholic ecclesiarchy supports the Stupak-Mills amendment out of a genuine desire to regulate vaginaspreserve the fetus, which they believe is a person. But the financial incentives for Catholic Church-owned hospital systems are enormous:

...consider that there are 60 some Catholic-affiliated hospital systems in all 50 states -- representing 13 percent of the nation's entire in-patient health care system. That's easily tens of billions of dollars flowing through the business arm of the Catholic church that continues to grow through mergers with private and other religiously-affiliated hospitals.

Congressional health insurance reforms promise the prospect of 36 million uninsured Americans -- who are currently self-rationing care, paying on sliding fee scales, or not paying at all -- flowing into hospitals, clinics and outpatient facilities via subsidized insurance, mandated policies and more affordable options in the proposed insurance exchange.

Conservatively, those newly insured people will not only add millions of dollars more to hospital coffers in the short term but the potential for trillions in billable services over their lifetimes.

So why would the bishops risk the House health reform bill collapsing under the weight of a bitter abortion debate? It appears to be a fairly brazen attempt to kneecap their health care industry competitors while knowing the president's top domestic agenda would be passed in some way, shape or form.

Catholic institutions are uniquely bound by religious directives on care, effectively eliminating key reproductive health and end-of-life treatment that other institutions will provide to patients and bill to their insurance carriers.

Add those restrictions and compound it with two simple facts: 73 percent of the now uninsured are of reproductive age and the leading cause of death among people aged 15-44 is accidents.

In essence, the people most likely to benefit from the proposed public option and insurance exchange will undoubtedly be seeking the type of care Catholic hospitals refuse to provide as a matter of religious principle. And these prospective patients are young and will conceivably need care for many decades to come....

The bishops can extract abortion care from the private insurance benefits of millions of American women that are federally subsidized ten ways to Sunday (with the blessing of conservative lawmakers' corporate welfare earmarks) and they level the competitive playing field without having to revise its medical doctrine to modern standards of care.

If the Catholic Church wants to engage in a stupid business model, that's its decision (or choice, if you will). But the rest of us shouldn't have to sacrifice the quality of our healthcare because of its slavish devotion to biologically unrealistic dogma.


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All public funding should be withdrawn from Catholic and other denominational hospitals if they refuse to service 100% of the population for 100% of their medical needs.

By NewEnglandBob (not verified) on 16 Nov 2009 #permalink

This is ridiculous. The Catholic Church has consistently been an advocate for universal healthcare.

@SiuMing: They've also consistently been assholes about gay rights and abortion. I'm amazed they didn't demand gay people not be allowed health care.

By JThompson (not verified) on 16 Nov 2009 #permalink

SiuMing @ # 3 - The Catholic Church has consistently been an advocate for universal healthcare.

So long as no one in the universe needs or wants condoms, other forms of contraception, in vitro fertilization, tubal ligation, elective or therapeutic abortion, vasectomies, just about any form of reproductive health care other than pregnancy management & delivery, or information or referrals about any of these.

How they arrived in this universe deserves more research.

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 19 Nov 2009 #permalink