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Practical Politics 101 (remedial: for US bishops)

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Feb 25, 2010

There is one-- just one-- health-care reform proposal currently under discussion in Washington. Not two. One.

Republicans don't have the votes to pass the sort of proposal they would prefer. Democrats will defer to the President. So right now President Obama's proposal is the only viable option. If you're talking about health-care reform on Capitol Hill this week, you're talking about the Obama plan.

With that background information in mind, will someone please explain to me why the US bishops' conference has issued another call for health-care reform

Yes, the bishops' letter pleads for a pro-life approach to reform. But they make that plea in the abstract, at a time when the push has begun for passage of a very concrete proposal. Everyone already knows that the bishops don't want abortion subsidies included in the legislation. Nevertheless the Obama plan includes abortion subsidies. So the key question is: Will the bishop oppose this bill?

On that question-- the only question that's being asked, really-- the bishops' letter is silent. They do not address the Obama plan directly. They could have said that they support health-care reform in general, but oppose this specific plan. They didn't say that.

So this week, as the White House revs up the bulldozer, announcing plans to ram home this bill, the USCCB announces support for health-care reform. The President wants this bill passed; the bishops want a bill passed. The distinction is bound to be lost in the heat of political battle.

The question this week is not: Do you want some sort of health-care reform? The question is: Do you want this specific legislation? The bishops have responded to the first question, when everyone is asking the second.

The net result: President Obama says that we must pass health-care reform legislation, and the USCCB echoes that we must pass health-care reform legislation. It sure looks as if the bishops are endorsing the Obama plan. If that wasn't their intent, why issue their statement now? 

 

  

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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Feb. 26, 2010 11:34 PM ET USA

    The Bishops have always been in Obama's corner because they share the same Alinsky-Marxist goals for the world. Obama'a health care bill will be the biggest coup d'etat ever. When is there going to be a "tea party" revolt among Catholics? It's time to cut all funding to the bishops.

  • Posted by: kadam6589 - Feb. 26, 2010 10:29 PM ET USA

    Unfortunately, the USCCB does not speak for the bishops of the United States. The functionaries at the conference have an agenda which is inimical to the intentions of the Church. It is high time for the bishops to take charge of their conference.

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