Michel Place Takes Questions on Health Care

Just a heads up that Father Michael Place will be taking readers’ questions this week about his article, “A Time for Reform: How the Catholic Tradition Can Shape the Health Care Debate,” which appears in the current issue. So you haven't already, read the article and send in your comments. The article is free to all. Here's a snippet:

How do we proceed? We should avoid the pitfall of some who seem to refuse to engage in reasoned dialogue. Our position is nuanced and complex. Many Catholics, including Catholics in public office, do not appreciate the threefold distinction: private practice, public voice and social institutional presence. We need to educate and inform our leaders about these and other Catholic principles. We must translate our faith commitments into language that can be understood in the public square. In a society increasingly influenced by 24-hour news cycles and shrill sound bites, we ought to provide a counterpoint of reasoned, respectful dialogue. A commitment to life does not replace the virtue of charity. The moment might come when moral outrage and prophetic witness are necessary. Until then, strength of conviction and participation in a political process that builds coalitions of support for the right cause are the preferred route.


Father Place is past president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association and current chair of the International Federation of Catholic Health Institutions. To respond to his article, simply fill in the comments box, and check back Friday for Father Place’s response.

Tim Reidy

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
8 years 9 months ago
Dear Fr. Place:
Your article “A time for Reform” was mentioned at the end of Mass today. I am very pleased that I took and read a reprinted copy, which I found very comprehensive and thoughtful. There are two points that I would like to raise. The first deals with an objective that you fail to discuss in your article and the other deals with a Town Hall meeting that I attended yesterday for the 7th Congressional district. 
As head of an International Federation you must be exposed to healthcare services in many other parts of the world and I presume that the level of healthcare must vary greatly. I am sure that there is not a single country, where government healthcare services would be classified as acceptable. 
Instead of imposing a system of healthcare that we do not understand nor appreciate the depth and breadth of prospective delivered care. Would it be practical for the Government to create a Basic Healthcare Plan? One that would be specifically defined just like any healthcare plan, but limited in scope to cover preventive care, basic childcare, and other services that could be actuarially acceptable within an agreed budget.
Yesterday morning my wife and I sat through two hours of a programmed Town Hall meeting for Danny K. Davis that was advertised as a healthcare meeting. Very little was discussed about Healthcare, but several times The Lord was invoked to shed his blessings upon our proceedings. 
We stayed for a later meeting where Healthcare issues were addressed, which Danny Davis attended after about half of the questions were asked. The audience was reduced to about 150 and about thirty persons, including myself asked questions.  My first two questions were acceptable to the crowd, but my last question regarding abortion was definitely not. My request was simple - that I did not want to be forced to pay for abortions as a benefit for others.
Rep. Davis chose four questions to answer and mine about abortion was one of them. He said that he was absolutely in favor of “Choice” and would definitely want to see Abortion as a covered benefit in the bill.  
It is remarkable that the language he used in delivering his position was in some cases word for word from the President’s Saturday address. There is no doubt in my mind that a Democratic majority in both houses will intend to pass and the President sign a bill that would cover abortions. It is also naive to think - in this State of Illinois, that Catholic conscience will not be compromised and Catholic Healthcare providers will be forced to provide abortion services or face government financial sanction. Our previous Governor already prevented a Pharmacist from exercising his conscience. 
Randal Agostini, Chicago


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