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 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.


Civil Disobedience

It appears that very soon, Christians across the United States will be facing opportunity for civil disobedience on a scale that we have not experienced since the Vietnam War.

After the House passed their version of Health Care reform, eliminatng public funding for abortion at the demand of the people, the Senate has put abortion funding right back in to all of their options. And abortion is not the only issue. There is also the phasing out of medicare for the elderly, who have spent a lifetime already paying into that program; the danger of veterans losing their health care, which they often have to fight to get after fighting for our continued freedom; the possible “rationing” of services based on whether the government values the particular patient or not. The list goes on and on.

In theory, socialized medicine seems like a good idea – everyone gets health care. But in practice, there is always the danger of corruption. The unborn, elderly, special needs and “undesirables” are not protected. People are forced into treatments they have reasons of their own to refuse. Fines or jail time are threatened to those who cannot afford a plan and morally refuse to “go on the dole” (1930’s talk for government aid). While I agree that the current system is not the best, more government control is not the answer.

One possible solution, Health Care Coops – like the financial credit unions – share in the expenses of members, and wield negotiating power with providers. Coops are formed around members’ beliefs and ability to pay, so if one did not wish to fund someone else’s elective plastic surgery, one would join a coop that did not pay for that. Unfortunately, too few coops exist to really offer an acceptable range of choices. The State of Washington offers an option for residents. There are Samaritan Ministries and Christian Care Medishare. What about our own Catholic Church? We used to run hospitals before the era of widespread malpractice abuse, why couldn’t we set up health care coops based on our own principles?

But before we could even consider that route, we have to exercise our voices to our Senators over the next few weeks of their debates on health care.

I plead, let us rise up with one voice, united to our bishops – reject any plan that does not respect and protect life from conception to natural death!