Does FOCA mean an end to Catholic health care?

posted at 11:23 am on November 25, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Melinda Henneberger looks at the threat the Freedom of Choice Act poses to Catholic health-care centers that want no part of abortion, and concludes that the legislation would probably strip them of their opt-out for conscience.  Henneberger believes that the bishops mean exactly what they say when warning that they will close the doors on every facility rather than be forced to perform abortions — and wonders how the Obama administration plans to replace a third of all hospitals in the nation? (via The Corner):

And the most ludicrous line out of them, surely, was about how, under Obama, Catholic hospitals that provide obstetric and gynecological services might soon be forced to perform abortions or close their doors. Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Chicago warned of “devastating consequences” to the health care system, insisting Obama could force the closure of all Catholic hospitals in the country. That’s a third of all hospitals, providing care in many neighborhoods that are not exactly otherwise overprovided for. It couldn’t happen, could it?

You wouldn’t think so. Only, I am increasingly convinced that it could. If the Freedom of Choice Act passes Congress, and that’s a big if, Obama has promised to sign it the second it hits his desk. (Here he is at a Planned Parenthood Action Fund event in 2007, vowing, “The first thing I’d do as president is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing I’d do.”) Though it’s often referred to as a mere codification of Roe, FOCA, as currently drafted, actually goes well beyond that: According to the Senate sponsor of the bill, Barbara Boxer, in a statement on her Web site, FOCA would nullify all existing laws and regulations that limit abortion in any way, up to the time of fetal viability. Laws requiring parental notification and informed consent would be tossed out. While there is strenuous debate among legal experts on the matter, many believe the act would invalidate the freedom-of-conscience laws on the books in 46 states. These are the laws that allow Catholic hospitals and health providers that receive public funds through Medicaid and Medicare to opt out of performing abortions. Without public funds, these health centers couldn’t stay open; if forced to do abortions, they would sooner close their doors. Even the prospect of selling the institutions to other providers wouldn’t be an option, the bishops have said, because that would constitute “material cooperation with an intrinsic evil.”

The bishops are not bluffing when they say they’d turn out the lights rather than comply. Nor is Auxiliary Bishop Robert Hermann of St. Louis exaggerating, I don’t think, in vowing that “any one of us would consider it a privilege to die tomorrow—to die tomorrow—to bring about the end of abortion.”

Whatever your view on the legality and morality of abortion, there is another important question to be considered here: Could we even begin to reform our already overburdened health care system without these Catholic institutions? I don’t see how.

As Henneberger notes, these facilities aren’t in overserved areas, either.  Catholic facilities tend to be in places other for-profit clinics and hospitals avoid.  The sudden disappearance of these clinics and hospitals would leave millions of people with much fewer choices in medical attention, or none at all.

Would Congress pass FOCA?  If the Republicans hold onto their seats in Minnesota and Georgia, they’ll have enough Senators to filibuster it, but Henneberger wonders if Obama would have enough votes to pass the bill on straight majorities.  Once the bill’s sweeping nature becomes known, she believes that only the hard-Left Representatives and Senators would back the bill, leaving FOCA to die quietly as it has in every session of Congress for the last 15 years it’s been proposed.

Obama pledged to make FOCA his highest priority, though, and his appointment of Emily’s List spokesperson Ellen Moran as his communications director sent a message that he intends to pursue it.  Henneberger believes that any attempt to force FOCA through Congress will “reignite the culture war he so deftly sidestepped throughout this campaign,” as well as make fools out of pro-Obama Catholics like Douglas Kmiec.  I don’t see Obama backing away from his pledge to make Planned Parenthood’s dreams come true, and I hope that Henneberger’s correct about Congress stopping those plans.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3

Ok, so either he’s just lied to another branch of his supporters or he’s using this as a lever to implement more socialism.

Let’s see…If I were a Marxist with a friendly congress and I wanted to nationalize health care I might:

1. Pass legislation that would force all health care providers to provide abortion on demand.

2. Wait for the Church owned and operated health care operations to shut down.

3. Declare a national emergency.

4. Nationalize the health care industry by seizing ALL hospitals, clinics, urgent care centers etc.

5. Draft the nurses and doctors that worked there into the army or possibly into my new civilian national defense agency.

6. Wait for the price and quality of health care to become even more unacceptable.

7. Blame the whole mess on the Republicans and their buddies in the Big Pharmaceutical companies so I could nationalize them too.

Browncoatone on November 25, 2008 at 9:44 PM

Actually, FOCA could conceivably be the trigger for eventually gutting Roe.

dedalus on November 25, 2008 at 9:33 PM

Are you kidding? The only thing that will gut Roe is Washington finally acknowledging that abortion is a state issue not a federal one. The odds of the Supreme Court overturning Roe are about as good as the Supreme Court ruling that the southern states had a legal right to secede and that the federal government overstepped it’s authority to free the slaves.

Browncoatone on November 25, 2008 at 9:50 PM

What next? Liberals demand that Catholic churches accomodate ritual fornication?

whitetop on November 25, 2008 at 6:08 PM

Think repealing Proposition 8.

joeinmo on November 25, 2008 at 10:08 PM

The odds of the Supreme Court overturning Roe are about as good as the Supreme Court ruling that the southern states had a legal right to secede and that the federal government overstepped it’s authority to free the slaves.

Browncoatone on November 25, 2008 at 9:50 PM

The Casey decision came very close to gutting Roe. The question with FOCA hinges on whether SCOTUS sees abortion as a fundamental right which in turn greatly affects how much it can be regulated. Also, some Justices will question whether the Feds are beyond their Commerce Clause powers.

dedalus on November 25, 2008 at 10:09 PM

jim m on November 25, 2008 at 4:53 PM

33 AD: Jews crucify Jesus.

Damned Jews.

Seriously jim m, your litany of ancient grievances is pretty lame considering that it has nothing AT ALL to do with this topic.

You know that if FOCA is passed, some rich woman ostensibly seeking an abortion is just going to go the hospital demanding an abortion, and when she is turned away she will sue.

Same thing as what happened with gay adoption in Boston. Get a filthy rich pervert with a great lawyer to get an adoption with his filthy rich pervert partner, and when they are referred elsewhere, sue.

All you need is a loaded activist with an agenda, then let the bloodsucking trial lawyers and bought off judges do the rest.

BKennedy on November 25, 2008 at 10:11 PM

Also, some Justices will question whether the Feds are beyond their Commerce Clause powers.

dedalus on November 25, 2008 at 10:09 PM

If the USSC found that hospitals are not covered by the commerce clause then they also declare the death of Social Security (for those businesses that don’t cross state lines which now must comply with SS), and the department of education (which they claim is a federal matter because educated citizens might work, move, buy or sell something across state lines).

It just ain’t gonna happen.

Browncoatone on November 25, 2008 at 10:28 PM

It just ain’t gonna happen.

Browncoatone on November 25, 2008 at 10:28 PM

The Rehnquist court did a lot to reign in the Commerce Clause. Thomas and Scalia would probably refer to it in their opinion, depending on how the case was brought.

Since Casey, Roberts, Ginsburg and Alito have been added to the Court replacing O’Connor, White and Rehnquist. Casey already weakened abortion restrictions to meeting and “undue burden” threshold. The Court might consider a trip to a nearby hospital less than an “undue burden”. They may also choose to toss out the Casey plurality opinion all together.

dedalus on November 25, 2008 at 11:01 PM

“Pro-Obama Catholics”

Is that something like “jumbo shrimp?”

john1schn on November 25, 2008 at 11:15 PM

American Power tracked-back with, “Obama’s Tidal Wave of Death”:

http://americanpowerblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/obamas-tidal-wave-of-death.html

Donald Douglas on November 25, 2008 at 11:24 PM

No one really wants to do abortions. I know an RN at a big HMO who dropped out of Nurse Anesthetist school because she said the docs dump all the abortions on them–IOW low man on the totem pole has to do the procedures.

Obama is asking for a big fight from more than Catholics. Bring it on!

PattyJ on November 25, 2008 at 11:25 PM

Hospitals, schmospitals. All that matters is killing babies. As many as possible, 24/7.

Molech must eat.

Akzed on November 25, 2008 at 11:35 PM

I know as a Christian, I’m not suppose to judge people. But I find it very difficult to have a person claim to be a Christian and then say that abortions at any point in a pregnancy is acceptable. Our President-elect “seems” to have no problem in doing this.

ny59giants on November 25, 2008 at 11:35 AM

BS. Judging is part of being a Christian. You make judegments all the time. A Christian cannot condemn. However, it is judging that is not so much like a judge handing down a sentence, but more the verb judging.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot judge as a Christian. That is just more feminization of the Faith.

Jesus judged and the Apostles had to judge too.

There is nothing wrong with it.

Sapwolf on November 25, 2008 at 11:42 PM

You can find the document easily by going to http://thomas.loc.gov
Then search for either:
S.1173.IS which is the Senate bill
OR
H.R.1964.IH which is the House bill
(They are both the same, just different legal filing numbers.)Please bear in mind these are the filing numbers for the current (110th) Congress and subject to change with the new Session (111th) beginning in January 2009

Important notes here guys:
*Nowhere in the document does it permit non-licensed physicians perform medical procedures such as abortions. This has nothing to do with abortion specifically- it has always been illegal to practice medicine without a license.

*The document clearly states that viable pregnancies, where the child could survive outside the womb, can not be terminated except in the case of imminent threat to the mother’s health. This in effect would ban partial birth abortions unless giving birth could kill the mother.

SgtSVJones on November 26, 2008 at 12:06 AM

The Bishops are finally drawing the line in the sign…those of us Catholics that DO practice our faith are glad to see it…this is one battle that Obama will lose…

DCJeff on November 26, 2008 at 12:07 AM

Cripes it didn’t add the other part of my comment…stupid enter button. I will say this about those who voted for Obumble without a second thought (like my little sister) and those who would force my Church to close their doors to the millions who receive care from them each day:

“Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”

and “May God have mercy upon their souls”

SgtSVJones on November 26, 2008 at 12:08 AM

In simple terms yes. A Catholic hospital if ordered by via the FOCA to provide abortions will close rather then support murder.

Supporters of the FOCA need to consider the Catholic position and count the number of hospitials closed/loss of medical care when they close.

Look at it from a Catholic Church perspective…

1. Abortion is Murder
2. All hospitals (even Catholic founded/controled ones must provide abortions.
3.a The Catholic hospitals see that as a volition to their faith.
3.b Refuse to commit murder and close

Talk about a sure bet, the Catholic church will have no option but to close the hospitals.

If FOCA passes then any hospital in your area that does not have a govt name there is a good chance it will be shutdown soon.

If you tell a Catholic Church run hospital that they must commit murder. They will close and no longer run a hospital, it is as simple as that.

F15Mech on November 26, 2008 at 1:59 AM

If he does promote that act straight away, he will lose all credibility and become a lameduck within his first year itself. The libs won’t be able to tr the likes of Sarah Palin with culture warrior tags ever again and Repubs will sweep into majorities in both houses in 2010. Bring it on!

BTW, you’d think the Catholics would have considered this before they voted for Obama in droves.

promachus on November 26, 2008 at 6:07 AM

My Congressman, the blue dog Ellsworth, is pro life. It will be interesting to see how he votes on something like this.

Terrye on November 26, 2008 at 6:14 AM

The odds of the Supreme Court overturning Roe are about as good as the Supreme Court ruling that the southern states had a legal right to secede and that the federal government overstepped it’s authority to free the slaves.

Browncoatone on November 25, 2008

But a war happened and the slaves were freed. Conservatives need to stop cursing themselves and the cause with the words that come out of their mouths. Rush does this quite a lot. God bless him,, but this is the one thing he does that is so frustrating. Anything anything anything is possible if there are enough determined people!
I do believe Roe will be overturned even if it is the last act this nation ever does before crumbling. And,, if it is to crumble,, it will be so because too many people sat around saying it was bound to happen while doing nothing to change it.
Again,, Roe will be overturned,,, I know it will,, and you will see such a celebration across this nation. Fireworks will go off,, there will be cheering in the streets,, festivals will be held,,, it will be a wonderful time! It will mark the beginning of something great in our nation!

JellyToast on November 26, 2008 at 7:30 AM

*The document clearly states that viable pregnancies, where the child could survive outside the womb, can not be terminated except in the case of imminent threat to the mother’s health. This in effect would ban partial birth abortions unless giving birth could kill the mother.

SgtSVJones on November 26, 2008 at 12:06 AM

Who gets to determine when the mother’s life is in imminent danger, and what criteria is used to determine that? My guess it will be the abortionist. And of course, any “doctor” who has no qualms about slicing and dicing a human being in the womb or sticking scissors in the back of a living child’s head and sucking out the brain thus killing him, would have no compunction about lying about the “threats” to the mother’s life or health. I do not believe in today’s medical world that a woman’s life is in danger from child birth unless her doctor is a total dufus.
This “life of the mother” crap is just that – a back door justification for killing a helpless human being.

abcurtis on November 26, 2008 at 7:33 AM

My Congressman, the blue dog Ellsworth, is pro life. It will be interesting to see how he votes on something like this.

Terrye on November 26, 2008 at 6:14 AM

My congressman is a pro-life Republican but both my senators are pro-death socialist democrats.

abcurtis on November 26, 2008 at 7:34 AM

Henneberger believes that the bishops mean exactly what they say when warning that they will close the doors on every facility rather than be forced to perform abortions — and wonders how the Obama administration plans to replace a third of all hospitals in the nation?

There is no way that the Catholic Church is going to shut down its hospital network. Yes, they stopped providing adoptions in Massachusetts when they were required to do gay adoptions — but their program was small (720 adoptions in 10 years) and nobody missed them when they were gone. It was a symbolic gesture.

But there’s real money involved with the hospitals. The Church can’t walk away from that money. And if any diocese decided to shut down its hospitals, my guess is the diocese’s creditors would either put the diocese into involuntary bankruptcy or receivership and force the sale of the hospital for the benefit of creditors. (This goes double if the diocese happens to have a lot of priest abuse claims).

The Church needs to back off this brinksmanship. Our Glorious Leader and His disciples in Congress have little patience for Christianity and my guess is they’ll call the Church’s bluff and pass FOCA. The real question here is whether the GOP will have enough votes to filibuster the thing in the Senate… and that comes down to Minnesota and Georgia… So you might want to think about making appropriate donations toward those efforts if you realistically want to stop FOCA.

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 7:52 AM

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 7:52 AM

Outlander you’re wrong. The Catholic Church loses money on hospitals. It runs them as non-profit organizations. Many of the doctors who work there do so pro-bono. That’s one of the ways they’re so efficient. If you go to a Catholic hospital and can’t pay you don’t.

Not only will they shut them down they will not sell them to other hospitals so abortions can be performed after they’ve left.

In the mind of the Church this is a fight against Good and Evil and nothing else. If Obama wants a second-term killer, then he should go ahead and pass FOCA.

itsspideyman on November 26, 2008 at 8:12 AM

itsspideyman on November 26, 2008 at 8:12 AM

If the Church is losing money on the hospitals, it shouldn’t be running them. It’s one thing to have a hospital with a balanced budget that relies on donations of money and labor to provide care to indigent patients. It’s another to run a business that’s losing money.

BTW, a lot of Catholic hospitals have turned for-profit in the past decade.

And, if you put a diocese into bankruptcy or receivership, the church loses the power to say what happens to its assets. That’s the point of the proceeding: you can sell the hospital over the objection of the church.

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 9:09 AM

End result may be marshal law. If so the constitution will be null and void, thus a free for all.

Static on November 26, 2008 at 9:24 AM

End result may be marshal law. If so the constitution will be null and void, thus a free for all.

Static on November 26, 2008 at 9:24 AM

I’m a bankruptcy and creditor’s rights lawyer. I have placed companies into receivership and sold their assets in the past. In bankruptcy, courts routinely order the sale of assets and the avoidance of contracts, transfers of assets, etc. over objections. That’s been a part of the law since at least the 1830s and is not a source of martial law or jackboot thuggery.

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 9:33 AM

Right2bright, I’m with the ELCA, not the Missouri or Wisconsin Synods. So I have no idea why they don’t pray together.

BTW, many Protestant churches get together for a community-type holiday celebration for Thanksgiving. I have seen Missouri and Wisonsin Synod pastors and members attend those celebrations, yet I’ve never seen any Catholic priest attend. Do you know why?

And what type of Lutheran are you if you’re apparently not an ECLA, Wisconsin or Missouri Synod Lutheran?

Ramrock, okay I’ll call a spade a spade: Your current Pope issued an apology in 2000 for many of the things I listed. Do you think he’s an anti-Catholic bigot, too? Or are you just willfully ignorant?

jim m on November 26, 2008 at 9:39 AM

A related point for you doctors who think you can default on your student loans as a way to “get back” at the federal government if FOCA goes through:

Student loans are generally not dischargeable in bankruptcy.

jim m on November 26, 2008 at 9:42 AM

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 9:09 AM

For the Catholic Church, it’s just not about the money. It’s about the charity and the sanctity of life. They’ll operate and lose money if it saves lives.

Abby Adams on November 26, 2008 at 9:43 AM

This “life of the mother” crap is just that – a back door justification for killing a helpless human being.

Really? Go read about some of the very difficult pregnancies and medical emergencies and come back when you have something intelligent to say.

jim m on November 26, 2008 at 9:46 AM

If the Church is losing money on the hospitals, it shouldn’t be running them. It’s one thing to have a hospital with a balanced budget that relies on donations of money and labor to provide care to indigent patients. It’s another to run a business that’s losing money.

BTW, a lot of Catholic hospitals have turned for-profit in the past decade.

And, if you put a diocese into bankruptcy or receivership, the church loses the power to say what happens to its assets. That’s the point of the proceeding: you can sell the hospital over the objection of the church.

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 9:09 AM

Every time I donate to some worthy cause, I lose money. You are thinking way too capitalistically here. You gotta start thinking like a Christian to understand. Think like a Good Samaritan.

With regard to conversion of Catholic hospitals to “for profit”, you are right — they generally cease to be Catholic. In many cases, the sales are generally done to increase access to the poor. In the cited case, San Jose is “over-hospitalled”, with far more beds than needed.

Most Catholic hospitals are not owned by a Diocese — they are owned by an Order, and subordinate themselves religiously to the Diocese in which they operate. Hence, the chaplains are often the only resources provided by the Diocese.

The state can indeed take control of the hospitals as you point out, but since we Catholics by our donations are the ones keeping many of these hospitals afloat, the state will have to find other donors to help run these places. Expect increased taxes to pay for the acquisition and running of these hospitals. Of course, there’s another way — maybe Planned Parenthood will come forward and help out with its significant resources ;-).

unclesmrgol on November 26, 2008 at 9:47 AM

jim m on November 26, 2008 at 9:39 AM

Stop the strawman. No one is calling anyone bigots just because they mention things the Catholic Church has done wrong. It is okay to have issues with parts of the Catholic Church (no one is saying otherwise). It’s when people disparage the entirety of the CC, saying that they believe more in themselves than Jesus, are evil, yadda yadda yadda, that it goes beyond just disagreeing with them.

It’s an irrational bias and in some cases hatred toward something that they know little about. They think they understand the CC, so they insult them without realizing the bigger picture, or understanding their misunderstanding.

Abby Adams on November 26, 2008 at 9:48 AM

It probably does. This is what the separation of church and state is really about. Keeping the state out of the churches not the other way around.

kanda on November 26, 2008 at 10:18 AM

Excerpt from “The Great Heresies”, Hillaire Belloc, 1938:

“…the quarrel is between the Church and the anti-Church – the Church of God and anti-God- the Church of Christ and anti-Christ.”

“The truth is becoming every day so much more obvious that within a few years it will be universally admitted. I do not entitle the modern attack “anti-Christ” – though in my heart I believe that to be the true term; No, I do not give it that name because it would seem for the moment exaggerated. But the name doesn’t matter. Whether we call it “The Modern Attack” or “anti-Christ” it is all one; there is a clear issue now jointed between the retention of Catholic morals, tradition, and authority on the one side, and the active effort to destroy them on the other. the modern attack will not tolerate us. It will attempt to destroy us. Nor can we tolerate it. We must attempt to destroy it as being the fully equipped and ardent enemy of the Truth by which men live. The duel is to the death.”

Belloc wrote this before the world exploded into global war in 1939. History records that the (largely Christian) forces of freedom achieved a short term victory in that conflict. But the forces of Satan, represented by the atheistic, materialistic, subjectivist Marxists relentlessly continued their efforts to deny God and his truth for the remainder of the 20th Century, perpetrating horrific atrocites throughout the world. The greatest and most insidious of which was the institution of abortion in by Marxist sympathizers in the western world.

For over seventy years, the forces of statism in this country (the Democrat Party) have worked diligently to transmogrify the United States into a vehicle for the advancement of the Culture Of Death. Americans have just completed this transmogrification, willingly giving their electoral imprimatur to a political and economic program that seeks nothing less than enslaving the entire US population to outright evil.

As a practicing Catholic, I have wondered when the Church hierarchy would ever awake from their cowardly complicity in all this. I have watched these atrocities unfold for many, many years, virtually unabated, with little real effort on the part of the Church hierarchy to denounce the individuals in their own faith community (primarily Democrats) who perpetrate these atrocities. I am wondering and watching still.

blackelkspeaks on November 26, 2008 at 10:20 AM

so, here is a fun thought

Cigarette companys have to pay huge taxes on cigs, also many states raise the tax on a single pack of cigs by like 5 bucks. they do this for 2 reasons

1. in hopes that if it cost to much to make/ or buy people will stop smoking, therefor lowering cancer rates and lowering hospitals expenses.

2. To make assloads of money .. and did i mention to give money to hospitals to fight cancer?

so thats cool, ONLY those who smoke have to pay it… so if i choose not to smoke i do not have to pay the tax on cigs…. well lets look at abortion.
1. Abortion is more often than not paid for by tax payer money, be it government grants to Planned Parenthood or just straight up hospitals having to eat the cost.

2. Why shouldnt abortion have a huge tax on it? maybe to pay for kids who didnt get murdered and are being adopted. Why not make abortions really expensive and not let any government doctor do them on tax payer money.

regardless, they tax Tobacco to limit its use, THEY subsidized abortion to INCREASE its use.

sigh final argument – if it is none of “my” business , or a woman’s “right” to choose to murder her baby, shouldn’t you have the freedom of choice to pay for it yourselves or… better yet let Barbara Streisand donate millions to your underprivileged abortion fund

Donut on November 26, 2008 at 10:24 AM

For over seventy years, the forces of statism in this country (the Democrat Party) have worked diligently to transmogrify the United States into a vehicle for the advancement of the Culture Of Death. Americans have just completed this transmogrification, willingly giving their electoral imprimatur to a political and economic program that seeks nothing less than enslaving the entire US population to outright evil.

As a practicing Catholic, I have wondered when the Church hierarchy would ever awake from their cowardly complicity in all this. I have watched these atrocities unfold for many, many years, virtually unabated, with little real effort on the part of the Church hierarchy to denounce the individuals in their own faith community (primarily Democrats) who perpetrate these atrocities. I am wondering and watching still.

blackelkspeaks on November 26, 2008 at 10:20 AM

I’m not certain if I understand what you wrote. Do you really mean that even catholic democrats are the forces of satan?

I often wonder why Jesus remained a Jew and never became a christian or started another religion while he was alive. Maybe the Jewish religion is the one true religion and when Jesus comes back he will still be a Jew. Do you think by his example that is what he was saying?

kanda on November 26, 2008 at 10:29 AM

kanda wrote: “I’m not certain if I understand what you wrote. Do you really mean that even catholic democrats are the forces of satan?”

Yes!

blackelkspeaks on November 26, 2008 at 10:30 AM

unclesmrgol on November 26, 2008 at 9:47 AM
With all due respect, I think you and Abby Adams have both committed a logical fallacy (that a great many Christians commit) that I think hurts Christian thinking. You both assumed that profit was un-Christian and that a charitable contribution must be a “loss.”

Money is a resource. I can invest it (where I am looking for a profit return), I can buy consumer goods with it (where I am looking for a utility return), or I can donate it to charity (where I am looking for a good will return). In all three cases, I am going to deploy the money to maximize my return — even if my return is different.

That means I want efficiency and profit motive in each area of my life. I want the best consumer goods for the least price. I want the highest investment returns for my invested dollar. And I want the “most good” (to borrow the Salvation Army’s phrase) from my charitable donations.

The Catholic Church is wasting donative resources to the extent it’s operating unprofitable hospitals. The hospitals should be profitable (or at least at a break-even point) without the need for charity. Then, you add in the charitable dollars to provide charity care to those who can’t afford it. And if the Church can’t operate the hospital profitably, it should close the hospital and take the money and donate it to a private hospital to provide the charity care. It’s all about doing the most good and demanding excellence.

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 10:32 AM

…the Catholic Church is wasting donative resources to the extent it’s operating unprofitable hospitals.

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 10:32 AM

Didn’t you critize the Catholic church for opertating a proftible hospital?

The Church can’t walk away from that money. And if any diocese decided to shut down its hospitals…
The Church needs to back off this brinksmanship

Do I have to point out how ridiculous your postings are?
If they are profitable it is wrong, and if they lose money it is wrong…I am dizzy with your (il)logic.

right2bright on November 26, 2008 at 10:45 AM

right2bright on November 26, 2008 at 10:45 AM

Yep you are right it is a paradox and the catholic church is closing hospitals already because they need the money to pay for the judgements they owe for altar boy abuse. This is going to speed the process that is already in motion. Its a bad time to be a catholic and very hard to defend the faith. Oh well all we can do is try.

kanda on November 26, 2008 at 11:01 AM

The implications for Catholic non-participation in the healthcare system would go far beyond merely shutting down one third of the hospitals in the US. If healthcare facilities have to provide abortion services, who will do them? Practicing orthodox Catholics (as opposed to Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi types) who are nurses and doctors will likely also leave public hospitals if faced with the prospect of being forced to participate in procured abortions. Then what of evangelicals and other Protestant healthcare workers who also oppose procured abortions on a religious basis? If FOCA is limited to only those facilities that accept federal funds, then what may happen is fewer Catholic hospitals stay open as entirely privately funded facilities. The Catholic cradle to grave system (schools, colleges, hospitals, etc.) was established as various privately funded institutions that gave an option for those who wanted an alternative to the public system or served needs that other establishments could not. If FOCA extends beyond facilities that accept federal funds to entirely privately funded facilities, then the Catholic healthcare system may just be the canary in the mine for religious freedom in general.

catholic_cowgirl on November 26, 2008 at 11:01 AM

I often wonder why Jesus remained a Jew and never became a christian or started another religion while he was alive.

–Probably would have been tough for him to become a Christian while He was still alive, don’t you think? Wasn’t his resurection the “proof” most people needed?

jim m on November 26, 2008 at 11:01 AM

regardless, they tax Tobacco to limit its use…

-It started out that way, Donut, but now the states are quite dependent on that money, which is being used for scholarships and a whole bunch of other things.

jim m on November 26, 2008 at 11:04 AM

Outlander, I think the problem is that you are lost in digits. By that I mean you seem to see no motive beyond the mathematics and economics. Catholic charities don’t exist to make a economic profit, they exist to enrich the lives they touch. The Catholic Church commits itself to corporal works of mercy. The faithful gladly open their pocketbooks and wallets to donate to those ministries which will never see a black line day in their existence. Our heros take on names like “The Poor Clares” and count among their number people like Mother Teresa.

Don’t get confused about the motivation. We don’t give monies to Catholic Charities or the Church in general because we expect them to go off and turn a quick buck on it – not even a slow buck – not even any profit at all. We want them to go build hospitals in poor urban areas and serve the poor. If they made a profit why would they need us to donate?

But as to closing down and handing their assests to those who are making money; there are not hospitals in these poor areas making money. Those hospital operating in the black are usually in the well off suburbs where they have a clientele with private insurance and steady jobs. Closing down an inner city hospital and giving the money to a profitable suburban hospital won’t exactly provide better health care for the poor urban communities currently served by so many Catholic hospitals.

In short, monetary profit is not the best measure of success. The Christian doesn’t believe profit is un-Christian so much as unnecessary when doing God’s will, for we find a profit in serving Him that dwarfs any bank balance we could ever see. But we can not allow the government to force us to commit murder in order to serve others.

darcee on November 26, 2008 at 11:08 AM

jim m on November 26, 2008 at 11:01 AMjim m on November 26, 2008 at 11:01 AM

Still doesn’t explain why he didn’t change after he resurrected. Perhaps because his message was that being Jewish is the one true religion. don’tcha think?

kanda on November 26, 2008 at 11:09 AM

oh gosh now I’m seeing double… ;)

kanda on November 26, 2008 at 11:10 AM

darcee on November 26, 2008 at 11:08 AM

Sanity…finally!

kanda on November 26, 2008 at 11:11 AM

Do I have to point out how ridiculous your postings are?
If they are profitable it is wrong, and if they lose money it is wrong…I am dizzy with your (il)logic.
right2bright on November 26, 2008 at 10:45 AM

R2B, think carefully before attacking people for having “ridiculous” posts.

1. My initial post was that there was a lot of money in Catholic hospitals and that the church can’t afford to shut them down. I believe that to be the case.
2. My later post, which you believe to be in tension with the first post, was responding to comments by others which assumed that the Church was, in fact, LOSING money on the hospitals. I accepted their assumption for that post and said look, if they are losing money, they should get rid of the hospitals IRRESPECTIVE of the abortion issue.

I don’t see the tension. Can you point it out for me?

Look, I don’t hate the Catholic Church. I stopped attending church or participating in the faith since the priest abuse scandal, but I generally respect the institution. And what I’m saying is that the brinksmanship is a bad idea for them because the Democrats will probably call them on it… And then, they either have to deep-six the hospitals (which, if they are a source of revenue for the benefit of creditors, isn’t going to work) or expose themselves for being hypocrits.

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 11:13 AM

In short, monetary profit is not the best measure of success. The Christian doesn’t believe profit is un-Christian so much as unnecessary when doing God’s will, for we find a profit in serving Him that dwarfs any bank balance we could ever see. But we can not allow the government to force us to commit murder in order to serve others.
darcee on November 26, 2008 at 11:08 AM
My point is a bit more narrow. I want charitable dollars to do the most good. I want my efforts to help the most people. And many non-profits, some Christian, some not, are extraordinarily inefficient. Other non-profits are more efficient. And by efficient, I mean good stewards of the charitable dollars and labor entrusted to their care.

It’s hard to look at someone who is serving people and say “you aren’t doing a good enough job, so we’re cutting your funding.” But it’s what’s in the best interest of the poor and the best interest of the donors. And I think too often, Christian groups aren’t willing to do that.

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 11:18 AM

Has there been any updates to this story? Any reaction from the President-elect regarding the RCC threat? Any formal press release or statement from the RCC hospital bishops?

cryptojunkie on November 26, 2008 at 11:19 AM

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 11:13 AM

On this I must disagree with you. If Catholic Hospitals are forced to give abortions they will close. It is not an option for the Catholic hopitals to commit mortal sin and take life. Even if ordered by the government. Only war itself is the one exception to taking human life.

kanda on November 26, 2008 at 11:20 AM

The Casey decision came very close to gutting Roe. The question with FOCA hinges on whether SCOTUS sees abortion as a fundamental right which in turn greatly affects how much it can be regulated. Also, some Justices will question whether the Feds are beyond their Commerce Clause powers.

dedalus on November 25, 2008 at 10:09 PM

Gutting – not so much.
Simply placing parameters, just as previous cases in the late 70′s -early 80′s resulted in the Hyde amendment the late 80′s – early 90′s saw further parameters with Webster & Rust. Casey just put in place further guidelines. I think Casey actually strengthens Roe as a fundamental right. The commerce clause? – You think that back door approach will work?

Really? Go read about some of the very difficult pregnancies and medical emergencies and come back when you have something intelligent to say.

jim m on November 26, 2008 at 9:46 AM

Most times when a therapeutic abortion is offered it is in the cases where the mother is undergoing treatment wherein the treatment may result in a miscarriage or severe deformity/retardation. True there are “difficult” pregnancies (pre-eclampsia) but fortunately there are also medical interventions that can allow women to continue with the pregnancy and their life.
The leading cause of maternal death, and a medical emergency, is a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. In this case the developing cells die, so a restriction on abortion has no effect on saving the woman. Can you provide a case for medically necessary theraputic abortion?

In this day & age the arguement of “to save the life of the mother” is frankly the last bastion for those who won’t simply say I support abortion rights.

If the Church is losing money on the hospitals, it shouldn’t be running them. It’s one thing to have a hospital with a balanced budget that relies on donations of money and labor to provide care to indigent patients. It’s another to run a business that’s losing money.
Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 9:09 AM

If you really believe this then all hospitals that provide indigent care would be closed. They lose money. Most, if not all, teaching hospitals lose money, you want to close them too? Indigents rarely present in the ER or clinic with one simple problem. They are usually in poor health, malnurished, can be chemically addicted, injured, infected, non-compliant, and even at times combative. Some present with difficult and rare diseases that require expensive or experimental treatments. Treatment for drug resistant TB is a great example. Caring for the poor is a money losing proposition, you should bless CC for doing it not curse them.

batterup on November 26, 2008 at 11:25 AM

Look, I don’t hate the Catholic Church. I stopped attending church or participating in the faith since the priest abuse scandal, but I generally respect the institution. And what I’m saying is that the brinksmanship is a bad idea for them because the Democrats will probably call them on it… And then, they either have to deep-six the hospitals (which, if they are a source of revenue for the benefit of creditors, isn’t going to work) or expose themselves for being hypocrits.

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 11:13 AM

The Catholic hospitals don’t turn a profit. That’s why they’re the only hospital in the area. Anyone looking to establish a hospital to make a decent profit would have moved in were that the case. They subsist for the difference almost entirely on charity and philanthropy.

The Democrats, should they pursue this, should be called on it. Democrats as a party don’t seem to understand that their radicial ideology has actual consequences.

Not that I think it will matter, the ivory tower academic will simply blame a hospital closing due to government mandated abortions on those backward thinking Catholics. He will then settle back into his gated community, ignoring all the poor folk outside his door.

BKennedy on November 26, 2008 at 11:31 AM

But there’s real money involved with the hospitals. The Church can’t walk away from that money. And if any diocese decided to shut down its hospitals, my guess is the diocese’s creditors would either put the diocese into involuntary bankruptcy or receivership and force the sale of the hospital for the benefit of creditors. (This goes double if the diocese happens to have a lot of priest abuse claims).
Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 7:52 AM

Outlander, everything is not about money. That is something some people do not understand. I am not Catholic, I am Baptist. I do have family who are Catholics though. There is a point, the belief in the loss of the eternal soul, that far outweighs “mammon” Mammon is a term that was used to describe riches, avarice, and worldly gain in Biblical literature.

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36

You may not subscribe to these concepts but MANY people believe in the concept of eternal separation from God because of their actions during life.

usarmyretired on November 26, 2008 at 11:34 AM

My point is a bit more narrow. I want charitable dollars to do the most good. I want my efforts to help the most people. And many non-profits, some Christian, some not, are extraordinarily inefficient. Other non-profits are more efficient. And by efficient, I mean good stewards of the charitable dollars and labor entrusted to their care.

It’s hard to look at someone who is serving people and say “you aren’t doing a good enough job, so we’re cutting your funding.” But it’s what’s in the best interest of the poor and the best interest of the donors. And I think too often, Christian groups aren’t willing to do that.

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 11:18 AM

But what you seem to be missing is that the donors don’t give to see the most return on their money. They give to serve those who need the most.

This isn’t about money, it is about doing good. But you illustrate the danger of looking ONLY at the bottom line. You aren’t going to find ministries in poor neighborhoods turning a profit. Money is a good measure of efficiency but little else.

darcee on November 26, 2008 at 11:37 AM

I don’t see the tension. Can you point it out for me?

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Yes, I did…you complain because they make money or you thought they did, and then when pointed out your post was wrong you switched gears (instead of admitting your error) and then claimed they were wrong for making money that the money could be used for other purposes.
You want it both ways…both ways diss the institution.
It just can’t be any plainer then that…

right2bright on November 26, 2008 at 12:10 PM

It’s hard to look at someone who is serving people and say “you aren’t doing a good enough job, so we’re cutting your funding.” But it’s what’s in the best interest of the poor and the best interest of the donors. And I think too often, Christian groups aren’t willing to do that.

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 11:18 AM

What mainline Christian groups are doing that…I grit my teeth when these blanket statements are made, without any facts…please enlighten us as to what groups are not “doing that”.

right2bright on November 26, 2008 at 12:13 PM

SIGN THE PETITION TO FORCE BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA TO PRESENT HIS QUALIFICATIONS.

PETITION FOR PUBLIC RELEASE OF
BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA’S BIRTH CERTIFICATE

To: Electoral College, Congress of the United States, Federal Elections Commission, U.S. Supreme Court, President of the United States, other controlling legal authorities

Whereas, by requirement of the United States Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, no one can be sworn into office as president of the United States without being a natural born citizen;

Whereas, there is sufficient controversy within the citizenry of the United States as to whether presidential election winner Barack Obama was actually born in Hawaii as he claims;

Whereas, Barack Obama has refused repeated calls to release publicly his entire Hawaiian birth certificate, which would include the actual hospital that performed the delivery;

Whereas, lawsuits filed in several states seeking only proof of the basic minimal standard of eligibility have been rebuffed;

Whereas, Hawaii at the time of Obama’s birth allowed births that took place in foreign countries to be registered in Hawaii;

Whereas, concerns that our government is not taking this constitutional question seriously will result in diminished confidence in our system of free and fair elections;

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=81550

The above article appears on WorldNetDaily.

AdrianS on November 26, 2008 at 12:20 PM

FYI: The Catholic Medical Mission Board has an efficiency of 97%, they are 98% donor dependent.
So they take only 3% of the money for overhead…
Here are some more…Billy Graham, 94%…Catholic Charities also 94%…Veterens of Foreign Wars, 62%…Girl Scouts, 74%…Humane Society, 73%..,
Forbes.

right2bright on November 26, 2008 at 12:25 PM

This isn’t about money, it is about doing good. But you illustrate the danger of looking ONLY at the bottom line. You aren’t going to find ministries in poor neighborhoods turning a profit. Money is a good measure of efficiency but little else.
darcee on November 26, 2008 at 11:37 AM

I have no quarrel with ministries that serve the poor and do not expect a Church mission to turn a pecuniary profit per se. But I expect results. If the mission is to reach out to poor youth, I want evidence that drugs and crime are going down and the youth are doing better in school. I used to work in the non-profit world and saw a lot of slop passed off as “good works” because people “looked happy” and “it’s so important that people are doing something for the needy/disadvantaged.” Most of it was in secular charities, to be honest, but I saw it in Christian charities too.

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 12:27 PM

You both assumed that profit was un-Christian and that a charitable contribution must be a “loss.”

Just wanted to say that, no, I don’t. In fact, quite the opposite (well, from a distinctly different point of view).

Abby Adams on November 26, 2008 at 12:32 PM

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 12:27 PM

In regard to charitable organizations (not government).
I used to feel like that too but then I thought about what results were acceptable. Over time I began to accept that if only one life was saved or changed for the better it was a success. You know all things are personal just like all politics is local. At some point if the war is going badly the choice is surrender or fight on even in a losing battle. Drugs is a good example. Hardly a success is the fight against drugs but battle on we do for the few we can save. We do it because we care, we’re not concerned for the financial cost. In the end we may fail but we do it out of love.

kanda on November 26, 2008 at 12:35 PM

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 11:18 AM

What mainline Christian groups are doing that…I grit my teeth when these blanket statements are made, without any facts…please enlighten us as to what groups are not “doing that”.

right2bright on November 26, 2008 at 12:13 PM

I have to make the assumption that you don’t know any, you just regurgitate what “faith haters” spew.
I even told you where to look, at Forbes, and you can’t come up with any.
So, I think this statement you made applies more to you.

R2B, think carefully before attacking people for having “ridiculous” posts.

Please think carefully before attacking institutions without having any facts.
If you do, it is a “ridiculous” post…

right2bright on November 26, 2008 at 12:39 PM

Money is a resource. I can invest it (where I am looking for a profit return), I can buy consumer goods with it (where I am looking for a utility return), or I can donate it to charity (where I am looking for a good will return). In all three cases, I am going to deploy the money to maximize my return — even if my return is different.
Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 10:32 AM

These hospitals operate at a loss only in capitalistic terms. There is no way many patients are going to be able to repay the hospital, so from a ledger point of view, the hospital is a money loser. “Loss” or “profit” implies that money is important in and of itself, and that the highest use of money is to make more money. Note how many people found fault with what you said. I think I understand better your meaning, which is that some charities are better than others because they apply more of their donations to their mission, but the words you used initially didn’t say that.

Of course, I think the Church has to use the brinksmanship and mean it. The Church has to be prepared to close hospitals rather than be forced to do something counter to the its teachings. And whatever happens to those hospitals afterward is moot. As I and others have pointed out, not only must the Church be reimbursed the true value of the seized assets, but the State will take upon itself an obligation which can do nothing other than raise taxes for its constituents, because those hospitals will no longer be receiving donations from Catholics like me (I assume that you have parted with the Church to the point where you no longer support its charitable missions) to cover their losses — and rather dramatic losses, since most Catholic hospitals operate “loss-leader” emergency rooms, the providers of choice for the penniless and homeless. I will donate instead to whatever replaces those hospitals (maybe small clinics whose thrust is specialties in line with Church teaching).

Living here in LA and having seen first-hand the King-Drew fiasco, I have no doubt where such government run hospitals will go in the end.

unclesmrgol on November 26, 2008 at 9:58 PM

Fr. Coughlin was silenced by his superior, the Bishop of Detroit. Maybe a bit late, but he was required to restrict himself to his duties as a pastor. Even before he was formally silenced, much of the hierarchy was opposed to his public pronouncements.

Flar on November 27, 2008 at 12:18 AM

… as well as make fools out of pro-Obama Catholics like Douglas Kmiec.

Finally! Change I can believe in. /sarc

DannoJyd on November 27, 2008 at 9:28 AM

Outlander on November 26, 2008 at 7:52 AM

Outlander you’re wrong. The Catholic Church loses money on hospitals. It runs them as non-profit organizations. Many of the doctors who work there do so pro-bono. That’s one of the ways they’re so efficient. If you go to a Catholic hospital and can’t pay you don’t.

Not only will they shut them down they will not sell them to other hospitals so abortions can be performed after they’ve left.

In the mind of the Church this is a fight against Good and Evil and nothing else. If Obama wants a second-term killer, then he should go ahead and pass FOCA.

itsspideyman on November 26, 2008 at 8:12 AM

Yep. They are money losers and Obama would be an idiot to give the Church the excuse to shed these.

FOCA is so extreme it will hurt Obama with moderates.

If Obama is smart (actually the question is “Is Rahm E. smart” since he runs the show now) he will not pursue this since it will use up much political capital in a wasteful way similar to the whole Bill Clinton impeachment fiasco.

Sapwolf on November 27, 2008 at 1:15 PM

Nor is Auxiliary Bishop Robert Hermann of St. Louis exaggerating, I don’t think, in vowing that “any one of us would consider it a privilege to die tomorrow—to die tomorrow—to bring about the end of abortion.”

OK, now you have pretty much jumped the shark. When anyone talks about dying for some religious cause or belief I think Taliban.

jim_collins on November 29, 2008 at 12:43 AM

Nor is Auxiliary Bishop Robert Hermann of St. Louis exaggerating, I don’t think, in vowing that “any one of us would consider it a privilege to die tomorrow—to die tomorrow—to bring about the end of abortion.”

OK, now you have pretty much jumped the shark. When anyone talks about dying for some religious cause or belief I think Taliban.
jim_collins on November 29, 2008 at 12:43 AM

There’s a difference being willing to die for cause (the bishop) and killing others in the process (the Taliban). There are a lot of people who have sympathy with the first view, but more who revile the second.

Kevin K. on November 30, 2008 at 7:59 PM

Folks, when it comes to the Magic Mulatto using abortion to create a crisis in the health care industry by forcing Catholic (and other religious) hospitals to choose to provide (or abet) in abortions or closing, well, Obama is just doing what he knows best: He’s community organizing on a country-wide scale, creating crises to put forth his ‘solutions’. (Just like the mortgage crisis is the result of the ‘solution’ of providing high interest home loans to the less credit worthy [which was a 'crisis' in the sense that not everybody could or should own homes], and we see where that crisis, thanks to the Government’s ‘solution’, is heading.) Over the next four years, I wonder how the opposition (to Obama’s policies as well as his Cult-of-Personality) will be viewed and treated? And will there be enough camps to hold them (us) all?

I re-read “It Can’t Happen Here” this past summer. There are so many similarities in that 1936 novel to our present political climate, like the presidential candidate’s biography in Lewis’ novel, ‘Zero Hour’, akin to a ‘Mein Kampf’, or now to an ‘Audacity of Hope’. Or promising to give out government money to the needy (and the government will decide who’s needy). Or nationalizing certain elements of our capitalist system for the greater good. All in the name of Berzelius Windrip, –er, Barack Hussein Obama.

This Obama guy still scares the bejeezus out of me, and he’s done so ever since he started running for President. Now though, his ‘just words’ have far more serious impact on this Republic that I ever though would –or could– happen (here).

RickZ on December 1, 2008 at 6:17 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3