Daily Archives: March 30, 2010

On Pre-Existing Conditions and Mandatory Coverage–Two Perspectives

One of the things about the healthcare debate is contradictory examples, and the contradictory examples show why “one size fits all” is not a solution.

Scenario #1: Tom has normal health. He is self-employed and makes about $100K per year. He can afford private insurance, but he chooses not to pay for it. Tom gets cancer. He goes to get health insurance only now that he needs it. This is what people who are *against* the bill bring up for pre-existing conditions.

Scenario #2: Dick has normal health. He is also self-employed and makes about $100K per year. He can afford private insurance, but he chooses not to pay for it. He also goes through a catastrophic illness. He racks up hundreds of thousands in hospital and doctor bills with no insurance. So he a) goes bankrupt or b) lies about his income so he can get a charity waiver (a charity waiver that might have gone to someone who’s poor. Ironically, Republicans will use a story like this to say why “there’s no such thing as free healthcare” (even though Dick got it), and “people can manage on their own” (even though Dick didn’t). For those who support manndatory insurance, Dick is the guy they’re talking about.

Scenario #3: Harry has a genetic disorder. He has always had coverage through his parents or his wife. He *could* qualify for SSI, and spent some time on SSI, but he’s a conservative and doesn’t like living off the government. More importantly, he knows you can’t really live off what SSI pays, and he wants to contribute to society. So Harry works rather than go on government disability. He can’t qualify for Medicaid under his state’s regulations. He and his wife go through a period where neither one is working for more than 3 months. When his wife gets a new job, they’re outside the pre-existing condition limit, so he can’t get coverage under her insurance.
This of course is what those who support getting rid of pre-existing limits are talking about.
But Harry is also the guy that conservatives point to when objecting to mandatory coverage, since Harry can’t afford it.

As it stands, Tom and Dick are both leeching off society. They claim to be good self-sufficient Republicans, but they’re not. They claim to be exercising their freedom, but they’re doing so at others’ expense.

The whole theory of insurance is that healthy people pay into it *in case* they get sick, and those who aren’t healthy enough get the support of the healthy people without having to beg.

If the healthy people don’t pay into insurance, there isn’t enough money in the insurance pool to pay for those who are sick. If the healthy people wait until they get sick, they haven’t made their own reasonable investments ahead of time, and they’re leeching off those who’ve paid.

Of course, those who don’t have insurance by choice, and then try to weasel out of their medical bills, are also mooching off society. They’re either getting the debts discharged, at the cost of the medical professionals, or else they’re getting charity that could have gone to those who really needed it.

Our third group is stuck in the middle. On the one hand, they can’t get insurance. On the other hand, they can’t afford it if they did, unless they’re getting it through an employer program.

It is important to note that one of the reasons I chose to actively support George W. Bush during his second term was his campaign promise to provide greater incentives for employers to provide health insurance. And McCain talked about mandatory insurance, and tax credits to pay for it.

So I really don’t see why Republicans are objecting to mandatory insurance. Also, since health insurance is an interstate commerce issue (e.g., some people can’t get their insurance policies to cover out of state care) the 10th Amendment doesn’t really apply, although subsidiarity might.

The real problem with the Act, besides abortion and euthanasia-related matters, is that it was all passed as one lump, which shows it to be a powergrab by the Democrats, not a real attempt at reform.

Fr. Murphy’s Judge speaks out: The NYT is 100% lying

My father in law has a favorite expression about the media I’ve quoted before: “Liars from Satan.”

With the exception of the lies about Pius XII, that’s no more true than in these attacks on Pope Benedict XVI.

Let’s summarize what we know so far about the case of Fr. Murphy in Milwaukee, and last week’s New York Times piece:

1. Murphy was head of a school for deaf children from the 1950s to mid-1970s, and had lots of allegations against him.
2. The allegations against Murphy were known about since at least 1974, but canonical action was not taken till 20 years later. So the inaction was the responsibility of the local bishop.
3. The Archbishop of Milwaukee during all those years was none other than Rembert G. Weakland, OSB, author of the New Mass, who once said that it’s a mortal sin to vote for Pat Buchanan, banned EWTN advertising from his diocese, trashed his cathedral at parishioners’ expense, called Mother Angelica all sorts of names, once threatened to go into schism, embezzled money to pay off his own sex abuse victims, and finally “came out” as an active homosexual in his memoir last year.
4. The reporter who wrote the Times piece wrote a glowing article on Weakland last year to coincide with his memoir. The article mentioned SNAP delivering documents to the Vatican, when the documents had not been delivered at the time the article was written. These point to a clear journalistic bias.
5. *Someone* supposedly wrote to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith–which was not in charge of sex abuse cases at the time–and asked for action against Fr. Murphy. Correspondence to the CDF on the issue was answered by the Secretary of the CDF at the time, now the Vatican’s Secretary of State, not by Cardinal Ratzinger himself. The media have portrayed this as “Cardinal Ratzinger’s secretary,” which isn’t what Secretary means in this case.
6. Apparently, Murphy himself wrote an appeal to the Vatican, asking for mercy given his age. Supposedly, at some point, Bishop Bertone, the CDF Secretary, wrote a letter to Weakland suggesting that canonical proceedings should be suspended due to Murphy’s advanced age and failing health as well as the lack of evidence after so many years.
7. We now have a statement by Cardinal Schoenborn that in at least one prominent case, Cardinal Ratzinger’s desire to reduce an accused bishop to the lay state was overriden by John Paul II, aka “the Great,” aka “Garrulous Carolus the Koran kisser,” a pope who had some great teachings and fantastic PR skills but very lousy management skills and a very liberal attitude about dealing with sinners.

Now, the Canonical Judge in the trial, Fr. Thomas Brundage, JCL, has written an article for the Diocese of Anchorage (also noteworthy to Fr. Brundage’s credit is that he notes he’s been in Alaska as early as 2001–obviously sought out a transfer from service under Weakland), trying to clear up some of the facts in this case. This is extremely noteworthy and groundbreaking. After all, one of the inherent problems in these issues, from an American “need to know” standpoint, is the extreme secrecy of canonical trials. *Everyone* involved in a canonical trial is sworn to secrecy.

But because this case is so important, and already so well-publicized, Fr. Brundage–with permission of his current bishop–has violated his oaths of secrecy as a canonical judge and as a participant in the Murphy trial to set the record straight:
1. He emphasizes his own commitment to fighting the plague of sexual abuse, having seen its horrible effects both as a canon lawyer and as a prison minister.
2. He emphasizes that perhaps no one has worked harder in the Church to solve this problem than Cardinal Ratzinger–how the process drastically changed for the better when authority over these cases was transferred from the Roman Rota to the CDF in 2001. Indeed, did Pope John Paul give the power to Ratzinger *because* he realized Ratzinger was right all those years?

3. Fr. Brundage says he never wrote to the CDF about the Murphy case, but the times quotes a handwritten letter that he supposedly wrote. He says that he would not have written to the CDF since the CDF had no authority, and the handwriting in the letter is not his own. He notes that he has been “quoted” or referred to in this case but never once contacted by a journalist. He notes a journalist’s responsibility to double-check all sources (particularly text sources), and that the reporter ought to have contacted him to verify the letter.

4. The letter from Archbishop Weakland Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone dated August 19, 1998–two days before Murphy died–stated that Weakland had instructed that canonical proceedings against Murphy cease.

5. Fr. Brundage emphasizes that he heard the pleas of the victims–and the Catholic Deaf community in general–and he agreed that Fr. Murphy should be laicized, but that was a Vatican matter, and had to take place after the local trial was completed. He was never told to stop proceedings by Archbishop Weakland. If he had been so ordered, he says, he would have filed an appeal with the Vatican to take the case to the Vatican Supreme Court.

Of course, to the secularists who are out for blood, none of these facts will mean anything; just as the facts, discrepancies and contradictions that were obvious from the NYT article itself didn’t mean anything. These people care nothing about the victims–remember these are the people who want “sex ed” in kindergarten–they just want an easy way to attack Pope Benedict XVI.

If anyone at the Vatican was suppressing investigations, it wasn’t Cardinal Ratzinger

Christoph Cardinal Schoenborn has come to the defense of Pope Benedict XVI as the one who has most been pushing for reform of the sex abuse crisis–that as Cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger tried to push for an investigation of Schoenborn’s predecessor as Archbishop of Vienna, Hans Hermann Groer.  Groer was removed from his post as Archbishop of Vienna in 1995 because of sex allegations, but no further action was taken.  Ratzinger pushed for a full canonical process but, as he told Cardinal Schoenborn, “the other side won.”

Apparently, John Paul II overruled Cardinal Ratzinger’s efforts to investigate Groer, because he was swayed by other “Vatican advisors” who told him the accusations were exaggerated.

Just as they are doing by siding with Rembert Weakland against the Pope, the media are letting the real culprits go in their desire to shoot down the B16 Bomber. It should be obvious that the media have had it out for him from the beginning, athing nd have done everything they can to cast his papacy in a negative light, from the Regensburg speech to the lifting of the SSPX excommunications.

This is not to say even that JPII was necessarily complicit–just naive, which is perfectly in keeping with his management style.

But it once again proves that there are clear factions within the Vatican. Whether we’re talking in this case about an “old boys club” trying to protect their power and superficial reputation, or about the “smoke of Satan” infiltrators, or both, we now have it in a quotation from Cardinal Ratzinger: “the other side won.”