Affordable Health Care? Who Is It Really Helping?

My friend’s husband has a rare form of lung cancer.  He has never smoked.  He is a vegetarian.  They are self-employed, with two young sons.  Like many entrepreneurs, they make too much money to qualify for state health care and not enough to buy their own.  Then of course, there are the pre-existing conditions. 

So what about the so-called “Affordable Health Care Act”?  Out of funding for the Pre-existing Conditions Program.  What about providing treatment and working out payments?  Nope.  The chemo provider won’t start chemo unless my friend can come up with nearly $10,000 up front.  Yeah, got that layin’ around after paying for the surgery to remove the tumor and the hospital stay and the biopsy.  Right.   What about other programs?  Other states?  Other countries?  If only there was a sure answer.  

We have been praying for my friend and her family ever since we found out about the cancer.  Right now, though, my friend just needs moral support.  I hear out her fears.  Then she talks about escape.  Selling off everything and packing the family into an RV and full-timing it with whatever time her husband has left.  I go with it, for this is the very thing I am about to do with my own family.  We dream this dream for a few minutes, until my friend has to take another phone call.  I have to take my son to his baseball game.

The injustice of my friend’s situation burns in my heart.  I want to lash out, but where?  I want to help, but how?  I pray.  I listen.  I reach out to my friend, wishing I could fix it, knowing I can’t.    This is one of the problems that offensive Health Care Reform Act was supposed to fix.  It hasn’t.  What now?


The Atheist Inquisition

By Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición (Enciclopedia Española) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


So Happy 4th of July!  Before I even left for 6:30a.m. Mass yesterday, I saw the ad headline in the Los Angeles Times:   “Quit The Catholic Church”. I was miffed, but it had to wait until after Mass.  In fact, I made it wait until after breakfast, when I read the whole ad.  Then I just rolled my eyes. 

Somehow, a group that has only been able to amass (pun intended) 18,000 members since its founding in 1978, is running this full page ad as they are able to raise funds.  It appeared in the New York Times way back in March, so obviously, they don’t have a lot of support. Still, they are launching the same tired arguments about why the Catholic Church is such a bad guy. I say “tired”, because they are calling women, like me, who are loyal to the church “ignorant”, while they apparently refuse to acknowledge scientific evidence contrary to their primary argument, which is women’s “reproductive rights”.  I’m sorry, but as a mother of 4 children, I vote for the right of every woman to practice abstinence if she does not want to conceive, acquire an STD, or be a slave to her hormones.  To lower a woman’s dignity so far that you have to call it “reproductive rights”, is to say that she does not have the choice not to engage in sexual activity.  It is to say that she is too stupid to realize how babies are made.  That it is better for her to pump herself full of chemicals or extra hormones which will raise her risk of cancer, than it is for her to abstain from sex, or to have a baby. How can a woman possibly be happy and fulfilled if she is not having sex? Personally, that is more of a Dark Ages mentality than what the ad is accusing the church of.

Their other argument is that US healthcare reform is being held hostage by the Catholic Church. Not so. The church has worked hard towards affordable health care for all for years. The current health care law, in fact, coerces a faction of society, Catholics and Catholic Institutions, to pay for what they regard as murder, female oppression and religious persecution. In fact, if a non-Catholic, working at a Catholic Institution, wants free or low cost contraceptives, there are hundreds of family planning clinics they can get them from.

As for the sex-scandal issue, sex scandals and pedophilia, complicity, collusion and cover-ups are not exclusive to the Catholic Church. They are rampant at every level of society and in every institution in the United States.  Pointing the finger at the Catholic Church is just a smokescreen, using the currently popular bad guy, to cover up the fact that this is just an organization, like any other, trying to get more money to promote their agenda, which according to their own website is to educate the public on matters of non-theism.

We Catholics stopped murdering folks that refused to convert to our religion over a century ago. Don’t shove your atheism down our throats just because you don’t want to have kids to pass it on to.

They say “humanity above dogma”.

I say “the truth shall set you free”!


Health Care Conscience

So here is our upcoming dilemma.  Buy health “care” coverage and pay for someone else’s birth control, sterilization, abortion, etcetera, or refuse to participate in any coverage and pay hefty fines.  Not only are individual Catholics being forced to make this choice, but so are Catholic employers.  Which means bishops.  Which means finally we are hearing about this from the pulpit.  I am not going to ask why this was not such an issue when only individual Catholic faithful were going to be affected.  I am just glad to hear it finally being addressed.

I don’t know what the big boys are going to do, but for us little guys, the ones in the pews, who do not have insurance provided by our jobs, cannot afford to purchase our own plan, and do not want to go on the government provided “pofolks” plan, what are the options?  Are there any?

My understanding of the health “care” reform law is that everyone is required to have a “health plan”.  This means no more cash-as-you-go negotiations with your doctor.  But does it also preclude “no-insurance” doctors and clinics, sliding scale clinics, and programs such as Samaritan Ministries and Medishare? (see links below)

I want options.  I don’t want to be forced into a “health plan” I can’t afford, or that goes against my conscience.  I don’t want to be forced into a government program which may require me to have procedures or medications I don’t want or that go against my conscience.  Or on the flip side, which may deny me procedures or medications which I need.  Our “health care reform” continues to need reform.  It is not good enough to be law yet.  It must be repealed, reworked, and resubmitted for our approval before it is forced upon us.

Yes, I will include the intention to repeal the health care law in my rosaries.  I will fast on Fridays for this intention and ask Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception to intercede for us as well, as our bishop has requested.

In the meantime I will also investigate these other options, as I would like to find some kind of health care that works for me anyway.  I also pray that perhaps our own Catholic Church (gasp) might come up with a plan for individual Catholics to receive affordable, acceptable health care.  After all, haven’t our last 2 popes been preaching that to us for years?  Certainly this is not just the responsibility of the government.  Maybe our “Catholic” hospitals can be of greater service to — Catholics?  Just thoughts.

And some links to investigate.

No Insurance Doctors
For a monthly (very low) fee, all the basics, but you need to find a doc in your area.

Samaritan Ministries
Monthly contribution based on family size and income.  Distributed among members according to need.  Submit any doctor/hospital bill above regular doctor’s visit.

Christian Care Medishare
Similar to above.

Still trying to figure this one out.  Appears to be a monthly fee type for basic care, but having a time getting details.  Have not answered my email yet.


The Touch

by Randall Wallace, (c) 2011, published by Mission Audio

“The Touch” is that rare, life affirming sensitivity that a few medical professionals and others posses.  Doctor Andrew Jones is one of them.  After a tragic accident in which his fiancee is killed, he abandons his gift and loses himself in teaching instead.  Lara Blair is the billionaire heiress of a medical research and equipment company.  For years her firm has been trying to perfect a surgical instrument that will duplicate a surgeon’s movements and allow never-before-possible deep brain surgeries to succeed.  When one of Lara’s executives stumbles across an exhibit containing a highly detailed micro-miniature sculpture of the Lincoln Memorial, and discovers the identity of its creator, Blair Pharmaceuticals begins a relentless pursuit of the talents of Dr. Jones.

There is a higher power at work, however, as Lara and Jones find themselves facing old fears, and questioning whether their lives should continue on their current paths.  The most compelling question is, will Andrew be able to defeat the demons that have tormented him since the death of his fiancee, in order to save his new love?

This audiobook contains a powerful message about the dignity of life at all stages, as well as the healing power of God’s grace.  It is a touching romance, without vulgarity, though one brief passage is probably not suitable for young ears.  Paul Mitchell delivers an exceptional reading, his voice resonating with the different emotions conveyed throughout the story.  Available for $12.98 from

I had trouble loading the MP3 files onto my ipod directly from the website, but no problem whatsoever downloading it to the computer and then transferring it to my ipod from there.  The complete zip file loads really fast and opens easily.

Thank you to Christian Audio Reviewers Program for providing me with this free review copy.  No other compensation was reveived for this review.


Shepherd of the Church

Bishop Thomas Olmstead, of Phoenix, Arizona, has come under alot of fire in the seven years he has been here.  The latest is an uproar over his revocation of St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Catholic status.  Yet, what else could he do but stand up for and insist upon Catholic moral principles at a Catholic hospital.  Catholic Healthcare West, the administrators of the hospital, purport to subscribe to the “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services”, set forth in its fourth edition, by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2001, which plainly states in Part Four, directive number 45, that “abortion…is never permitted”.  In this case, the abortion was performed on a pregnant woman with pulmonary hypertension.  Doctors predicted that she had a “100% chance” of dying of this complication of pregnancy before the baby was born.  We all know how accurate doctors “predictions” can be.  I don’t intend to debate that particular issue.

My intention is to uphold and thank Bishop Olmstead for being a true Shepherd of the Catholic Church in an era of political correctness and lukewarm Catholicism.  For saying the rosary out in front of abortion clinics every week in all kinds of weather.  For making the Sacramental Marriage Preparation process harder, instead of making the annulment process easier.  For speaking and writing to politicians who want to be identified as Catholic, and telling them that they need to embody and protect Catholic morality if they want to do so.   We need this kind of example from our leaders, religious as well as secular.

Of course, the bishop has done some things that I disagree with.  But those deal more with administrative issues. As Paige Byrne Shortal mentions in her excellent column in this month’s Ligourian Magazine, “The Word in Our World”, Catholic “bishops and pastors are cast into roles of corporate CEOs rather than enlightened gurus”.  And this is much of what inspired me to start this blog.  My deep, abiding love of the Catholic faith, and Catholic tradition, versus my abhorrence for administrative nonsense.