Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Fortnight for Freedom’

The Holy Hours and prayers have all been said, the letters written to legislators, the blogs have been written, the teach-ins have played themselves out, and the church bells have all been rung.

Now What?

Where do we go from here, and will our bishops continue to lead us along the way? These are the questions on many lips today, and in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling last week, the space between now and election day is potentially some of the deadliest political battle-ground ever in American history. Hanging in the balance is nothing less than how this nation will be constituted moving forward.

These are consequential times and the laity of the Catholic and other faithful Christian churches have to contemplate what government control of healthcare will mean for biomedical ethics and the very character of our healthcare system if Obamacare is not consigned to oblivion in November. We need to consider exactly what is at stake.

The healthcare system as we know it, the process of scientific and therapeutic discovery, the development of new pharmaceutical agents will all slow tremendously as the government takes control. That’s because the government will suck the profit incentive out of the system in an effort to control costs. That’s what socialist systems do.

Profit is not a bad thing, not a bad thing at all. “Big Pharma” has been villified to the point of absurdity by people who don’t understand the workings of discovery, or pension plans. One of the most profitable sectors in the economy has been the biotech industry, and anyone with a private or government pension plan has seen it grow in no small measure because of the pension plan’s investments in these corporations.

On average, companies have less than ten years from the time a drug comes to market to recoup the research and development costs over the first ten years of the patent, before the patent expires and the drug goes into generics. By way of example, for new antibiotics the cost of R&D approaches $1 billion from the time the compound is discovered in the lab until the drug clears all three levels of FDA clinical trials. Investors (anyone with a pension plan) want their money back ASAP, not twenty years from now. And people who have spent four years in college, ten years in a Ph.D. program, at least three years in post-doctoral training rightly demand six-figure salaries as compensation for almost twenty years of their adult lives spent in training.

It takes a small army of such highly skilled researchers to advance the discoveries. Their just compensation is also an issue of social justice. Their discoveries and resultant profits do not feed the insatiable maws of a handful of fat cat executives in silk top hats, as is often caricaturized. Those discoveries ultimately extend and improve all of our lives (either when the drug is new and expensive, or in a few short years when it goes into generic production), and the profits sustain our retirees in their old age.

Europe had a thriving pharmaceutical industry before they adopted socialized medicine. Once the government became the single-largest purchaser of pharmaceutics they set the prices they were willing to pay so absurdly low that they collapsed the industry in Europe.

Hillary Clinton did the same thing to the vaccine wing of our pharmaceutical industry when Bill Clinton was president. The only portion of her nationalized healthcare that became policy was the children’s vaccine initiative. It was a noble attempt to vaccinate every child in America.

At the outset there were over thirty manufacturers of vaccines in the U.S. After the government became the single-largest purchaser of vaccines, they set the price and collapsed the industry. By the time of the anthrax scares post-9/11, there were less than seven manufacturers left, and the U.S. is now forced to purchase most of our vaccines abroad.

Then comes news last week that the Supreme Court struck down the provision in Obamacare that would have widened the medicaid involvement—–which was the precise population used to justify this entire mess in the first place. Now we are left with the worst of two worlds, the uninsured still being uninsured, and the government co-opting and destroying the very system they claimed they wanted for the uninsured.

Brilliant.

It only goes to substantiate for Americans the experiences of other nations under socialized medicine. To be sure there are the apologists in Europe and Canada who will tout the superiority of their systems. What they do not tout is the radical eugenics and euthanasia that have seized these nations and which have become a permanent part of the landscape. It’s easy to boast of the superiority of one’s system when the very sickest among us don’t factor into the equation at all.

This is our choice come November. To my fellow Catholics at the conclusion of this fortnight, we have our work cut out for us. Either we rise up as the muscular Church we once were, or we consign ourselves to the status of paper tiger for at least a generation to come.

We stake all on the November elections.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

On the eve of the Fortnight for Freedom, there are those within the Catholic Church who are denying that the two-week observance has anything to do with the Church’s teaching on contraception and everything to do with upholding the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religious expression. That’s a false dichotomy and misattribution of the causal nature of our current dilemma.

It’s akin to those who say the American Civil War wasn’t about slavery, that it was all about states’ rights; which of course begs the question: The right to do what?

There is no doubt that the states who seceded feared the loss of self-government to the Federal Government, but the loss of liberty was rooted in the issue of slavery which was woven into the very social and economic fabric of the South. In the case of slavery (which took on a more prominent role for Northerners as the struggle wore on) it was an example of the Federal Government getting it right. The unalienable (That is, God-given) right to liberty had been denied to African-Americans for far too long. Federal troops were sent to both preserve the Union and end slavery for good.

In the current struggle, the Federal Government has sought to attack the Catholic Church over an issue that is central to her identity and mission, the teaching that all human life is made in the image and likeness of God from the moment of fertilization and is to be respected as such until natural death. Our loss of freedom is centered on the mandate by the Federal Government that we pay not only for birth control pills, some of which are known abortifacients, but that we pay for sterilizations and known abortifacient morning-after pills such as RU-486 and Ella.

Further, the Government is dictating what institutions constitute “religious” institutions and which do not. The only “religious” institutions that qualify for an exemption by the Obama criteria would be those who violate equal opportunity law by hiring most of their employees who are members of that church, and whose services go mainly to members of that same church.

Otherwise, Catholic hospitals, schools, and social service agencies are required to pay for contraceptives, abortifacients and abortions, and sterilizations. If the bishops do so, they shred Humanae Vitae and every decent moral precept undergirding Catholic Anthropology. If they voluntarily close down these institutions, they cooperate with evil by giving our enemies precisely the evisceration of our Church that they seek.

Perhaps jails overflowing with civilly disobedient Catholic bishops, clergy, religious, and laity will be the sole salvation of religious liberty in America. We’ll see soon enough how this situation breaks. The Supreme Court ruling on the HHS mandate is due out any day, and then there are the November elections.

That’s plenty of reason to pray during this fortnight.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: