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Catholic Medical Association issues detailed critique of Obama reform plans

September 22, 2009

The Catholic Medical Association (CMA) has issued a statement warning against an expansion of federal government involvement in health-care decisions, and calling for an alternative approach to health-care reform that would increase individual choice and "encourage greater individual accountability in health-care spending."

The CMA statement, which contains a detailed critique of legislation pending in Congress, is markedly different from statements issued by the Catholic Health Association; the latter group has strongly supported President Obama's plans for health-care reform, while saying that the final plan should not include public funding for abortion. The CMA is an organization founded to "assist physicians in upholding the principles of the Catholic faith in the science and practice of medicine." The CHA represents hospital administrators.

The CMA statement acknowledges that America faces a crisis in the health-care industry, but argues that the problem has arisen "largely from misguided incentives in tax, employment, and government policy." The Obama plans, the group argues, could aggravate those problems:

They empower a small group of unelected government bureaucrats and committees to determine the composition and cost of health insurance policies, the reimbursement of providers, the approval of treatments, etc. We think this government-controlled approach is flawed in principle and ineffective, if not dangerous, in practice.

The CMA lists a series of problems with the Obama approach:

  • By centralizing control of the health-care industry in the federal government, the plan "clearly violates the principle of subsidiarity."
  • The expansion of the Medicaid program would add millions of people to a "flawed government system," adding to an existing problem rather than bringing reform.
  • Federal control over health-care decisions would be particularly "dangerous given the current Administration's repeated failures to accord proper respect for the dignity of human life."


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