Wednesday, September 30, 2009

OSV Reports on Bishops, Subsidiarity and Health Care Reform

In its upcoming issue, OSV looks at the growing number of bishops who are urging adherence to the principle of subsidiarity in any health care reform package. Till now, OSV notes, the principal episcopal objection to reform proposals in Congress has been the failure of those bills to specifically exclude abortion coverage:

But the structure of the health reform is also drawing fire from a small but growing number of bishops, who are citing the long-standing Catholic principle of subsidiarity, which holds that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least-centralized competent authority.

The Pastoral Statement on Health Care Reform by Archbishop Joseph Naumann and Bishop Robert Finn gets top billing in the news analysis piece by Valerie Schmalz, but she refers to a number of other bishops as well:

Other bishops who have highlighted the importance of the principle of subsidiarity in solving the country's health care disparity include: Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.; Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City, Iowa; Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, N.D.; Bishop Thomas Doran of Rockford, Ill.; and Bishop James V. Johnston of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Mo., who wrote in a Sept. 4 column: "One might legitimately ask if giving a large, inefficient, but powerful bureaucracy like the federal government control of health care is a wise move."

Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput also cited subsidiarity, writing in a Sept. 2 column, "Real healthcare reform need not automatically translate into federal programming."

Enough, it seems, for OSV to claim that consideration of subsidiarity is “providing a new wrinkle in the health care debate”.

The piece also provides the views of these bishops’ critics – So go read the whole thing.