Monday, February 6, 2012

Intersections Are Dangerous Places in Health Reform Debate

Innovation is this amazing intersection between someone’s imagination and the reality in which they live.

Ron Johnson (born 1960), CEO of J.C. Penny and former senior VP of retail operations for Apple Retain Operations

February 6, 2012 – My blog’s operative title is “Where health reform, medical innovation, and physician practices meet,” in other words where these things intersect.

I reside on Bull avenue, as opposed to Bear Street. We bulls believe health reform, medical innovation, and physician practices have a positive future.

I am bearish at times when I say federal health reform is overreaching and defeats its own objectives of lowering costs, expanding access, and raising quality.

But I am realistic enough to know when reform, innovation, and physician practices meet, collisions occur and the red light begins blinking.

A case in point is the Obama administration’ decision to require Catholic institutions that hire non-Catholics to follow reform doctrine and be compelled to offer contraceptive, sterilization, and abortion access to its employee and the public at large.

These institutions include Catholic universities where 750,000 students attend, 6980 Catholic primary and secondary schools, 600 Catholic hospitals, and 1400 Catholic long-term health care organizations.

This decision has political implications. There are 78 million Catholics in the U.S., 25% of the population. They tend to be swing voters, as evidenced by Reagan Democrats in the 1970s in industrial swing states, who swung the election from Carter to Reagan.

The decision to require Catholic institutions to follow one-size-fits-all secular rules imposed by the Obama administration strikes at the root of “religious liberty.”
Also conflicts at the humanistic-political intersection raises questions about use of the term “prevention.” The Obama administration has made a big deal out of offering “free prevention services” to ward off chronic disease.

But is unintended pregnancy a disease?

Certainly among women with these pregnancies or as rape victims, pregnancy creates “dis-ease,” inconvenient economic and social consequences. And among Catholic institutions and Catholic doctors and nurse who deliver and who forced to prescribe these measures, but who do not believe in contraceptives, overnight pills to avoid implantation, sterilization, and abortions, the controversy creates “dis –ease.”

In my case, as a non-Catholic health care blogger, I would like to believe this boiling and erupting controversy has room for imaginative compromise – that an ounce of common ground would prevent a pound of controversy, that one-size-does-not-fit-all, that true believers deserve recognition for their faith in the form of waivers from the health reform law.

Tweet: Whether Catholic institutions must offer contraceptive and abortion services has moved front and center in health reform debate.

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