Health Care: the third way
Now that SOME of the turmoil and vitriol has died down, perhaps this can be a some service.
Kim at Faith, Fiction, and Flannery writes about Dorothy Day’s approach as an alternative to the partisan hate party that surrounded the health care bill. I think she is probably right. That is all. What do you think?
We’ve heard Catholics on both sides of the current legislation for health care reform weigh in: the CHA, and a few nuns, along with those who agree with them say we need this legislation; that Christ compels us as a society to take care of our brethren. This legislation will help us do that, they say. They have a point. The bishops, on the other hand, agree with some of the legislation, but are very wary about abortion provisions. Some bishops have said we cannot support such legislation the life of the unborn is not adequately protected. They have their point as well, yet something seems to be missing in both of these positions.
I believe there is a third way.
Dorothy Day walked the path of that third way. The essence of the Catholic Worker movement that she and Peter Maurin founded in 1933 is a personalism founded in Christ. Day of course is most noted for her anti-war activities, but the underpinning of her pacifism was always Christ and the value and dignity of the human person.
That value, that dignity, has been all but obscured in the debate on health care reform, or rather health care insurance reform. Insurance is what the debate and it’s subsequent bill, have been about. The actual care of the person has been thrown to wayside.
Recently, a friend relayed a story of a visit to the doctors office with her daughter. I think it gets to the heart of the problem of health care today. My friend, Suzanne, took her daughter in for a check-up and while she was there, Suzanne asked the doctor to take a quick look at something on her arm. She was sure it was nothing, but asked anyway. The doctor told her to make an appointment with his secretary. He did not even look at Suzanne’s arm. This is what health care has come to in the US: a doctor won’t look at someone without an appointment. The appropriate paperwork needs to be filled out. The proper billing needs to be completed. The person in front of the doctor, is tossed away, either by necessity of paperwork and legalities or by the doctor’s choice not to deal with the issue at hand.
This is the kind of systematic dismissal of humanity Dorothy Day warned against. It is the kind of dismissal Christ asks us to let go