The Pope Weighs In on Health Care

Pope_FrancisMany people would like to see changes to the health care system operates in our country. It appears you can add Pope Francis to that list. Though he didn’t single out the U.S., the Pope did lash out at what he described as “healthcare inequality.”

From Reuters.com:

Pope Francis condemned on Thursday inequality in healthcare, particularly in rich countries, saying governments had a duty to protect all citizens.

“Increasingly sophisticated and costly treatments are available to ever more limited and privileged segments of the population,” Francis said in an address to a conference of European members of the World Medical Association.

“This raises questions about the sustainability of healthcare delivery and about what might be called a systemic tendency toward growing inequality in healthcare,” he said.

According to AOL.com, “Francis did not mention any countries. Healthcare is a big issue in the United States, where President Donald Trump has vowed to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, introduced by his predecessor, Barack Obama, which aimed to make it easier for lower-income households to get health insurance. The pope said “the state cannot renounce its duty to protect all those involved, defending the fundamental equality whereby everyone is recognized under law as a human being living with others in society.”

In his message to a medical association meeting at the Vatican, the Pope expressed what he believes will help healthcare be more successful. The excerpt below comes from ABC News.

Francis said health care law needs a “broad and comprehensive view of what most effectively promotes the common good” in each situation, including looking out for society’s most vulnerable people.

The Pope’s comments come as Senate Republicans consider a plan that would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate as part of a tax overhaul bill. While supporters claim the move would lead to middle class tax breaks, MSNBC.com points out – “the Congressional Budget Office has already told Congress that repealing the ACA’s individual mandate will destabilize the insurance market, force many consumers to pay higher premiums, and end coverage for 13 million Americans over the next 10 years.”

The New York Times added:

In a letter on Tuesday, groups representing doctors, hospitals and insurers urged congressional leaders to keep the individual mandate in place. The groups, which included the American Medical Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans, wrote that “eliminating the individual mandate by itself likely will result in a significant increase in premiums, which would in turn substantially increase the number of uninsured Americans.”

Share your thoughts on the Pope’s comments that we are living in a time of “growing healthcare inequality.” We’d also love to hear your opinion on whether a plan to repeal the individual mandate should be part of a tax bill. Generating meaningful dialogue around the health stories making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

 

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