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Breaking News: Senate approves health-care measure

News Alert
07:15 AM EST Thursday, December 24, 2009

On a vote of 60 to 39, the U.S. Senate passed Thursday morning a landmark health-care bill that extends insurance coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans and begins to refashion Medicare and the private insurance market.


By Cliff Kincaid
December 24, 2009

A lot is being said and written about why national health care legislation is becoming a reality. The simple fact, available for all to see, is that the U.S. Catholic Bishops ensured passage of the bill in the House, enabling the Senate to move forward with its version.

Like “progressive” strategist Robert B. Creamer, the Bishops believe that health care is a right to be guaranteed by government. This position has driven the debate and has rarely been challenged by Republicans. The debate over abortion has been mostly a diversion. Perhaps it has been planned that way

As we were the first to disclose, Creamer, an ex-con and husband of Rep. Jan Schakowsky, emphasized using “the faith community” to mobilize support for universal health care by highlighting the morality of providing medical care to people in need. His book, Stand Up Straight! How Progressives Can Win, emphasized that “We must create a national consensus that health care is a right, not a commodity; and that government must guarantee that right.”

Now compare this to what the Bishops have said.

“Our approach to health care is shaped by a simple but fundamental principle: ‘Every person has a right to adequate health care,’” they say. They go on, “For three quarters of a century, the Catholic bishops of the United States have called for national action to assure decent health care for all Americans. We seek to bring a moral perspective in an intensely political debate; we offer an ethical framework in an arena dominated by powerful economic interests.”

Reform, the Bishops said, would “require concerted action by federal and other levels of government and by the diverse providers and consumers of health care. We believe government, an instrument of our common purpose called to pursue the common good, has an essential role to play in assuring that the rights of all people to adequate health care are respected.”

Also this: “For three quarters of a century, the Catholic bishops of the United States have called for national action to assure decent health care for all Americans.”

The only real chance of defeating the health care legislation came when the bill was lacking a majority of votes for passage in the House. That’s when the first deal was made. This was the deal that made all other deals possible. Acting at the behest of Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the Catholic Bishops, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed to a vote on the pro-life amendment introduced by Rep. Bart Stupak. It passed and then the bill itself was approved.

But why did Republicans vote for the Stupak amendment if they opposed the basic premise of the bill? House Republican Leader Rep. John Boehner got his marching orders as well. He was told by Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, that the Republicans shouldn’t scuttle the Stupak amendment.

The Senate then proceeded to pass its own version of the legislation, without the Stupak language. Predictably, Stupak is complaining about that. But he–and the Democrats and Republicans who voted for his amendment–only have themselves to blame. At least five lobbyists for the Bishops worked with Pelosi and Stupak on the deal that is now also predictably falling apart. Clearly, the pro-life deal was a ploy designed to keep the legislation alive.

It has become apparent to some observers that the Bishops want the legislation to pass, with or without abortion language, because of its perceived impact on 600 Catholic hospitals. As they say in their own document, “Catholic dioceses, parishes, schools, agencies, and hospitals are major purchasers of insurance and health care. The rapidly escalating costs of coverage are impacting almost every diocese, agency, parish, and school.”

In other words, the Bishops see national health care legislation as a way to reduce their own costs. In addition, by expanding federally-subsidized health care to as many as 30 million people, many of whom might normally depend on Catholic hospitals for inexpensive or free care, the Catholic Bishops could save even more money.

Andrew P. Napolitano, the senior judicial analyst at the Fox News Channel, has written a very revealing article about what has been missing in the debate over health care. He writes, “In the continually harsh public discourse over the President’s proposals for federally-managed healthcare, the Big Government progressives in both the Democratic and the Republican parties have been trying to trick us. These folks, who really want the government to care for us from cradle to grave, have been promoting the idea that health care is a right. In promoting that false premise, they have succeeded in moving the debate from WHETHER the feds should micro-manage health care to HOW the feds should micro-manage health care. This is a false premise, and we should reject it. Health care is not a right; it is a good, like food, like shelter, and like clothing.”

Rights come from God, not government, Napolitano points out.

It would have been nice if it had been pointed out on Fox News and elsewhere that the Catholic Bishops who claim to be offering a “moral perspective” on this controversy have bought into the false premise. But they didn’t believe it to be false, and that is the critical point.

In short, the Catholic Bishops have merged as a major “progressive” force in the United States, determined to saddle the country with a socialized medicine scheme. The disagreements over abortion among the “Big Government progressives” should not distract our attention from this basic fact. The Bishops also favor “climate change” legislation and amnesty for illegal aliens.

In addition to the lobbyists who were working on Capitol Hill, the bishops have a staff of 350 in Washington, D.C. and operate on a budget that was estimated back in 2002 at $131 million a year. By contrast, the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress operates on about $48 million a year.

Ironically, we have also discovered that Soros, an atheist, is putting big money into various Catholic organizations, such as Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. Not surprisingly, it is backing the health care legislation.

“Sadly, the bishops have misunderstood the entire process, and now we will all pay,” one conservative Catholic blogger points out. “They thought they could influence our lawmakers to provide us a ‘clean’ government takeover of the nation’s health care system, ‘clean’ in the sense they hoped this ‘reform’ would include strong conscience protections while defunding abortion, without objecting to the basic premise of unprecedented government growth.”

It is interesting and newsworthy that, as the nation prepares to celebrate Christmas, we are witnesses to the passage of legislation promoted in part by elements of the “faith community” who have put most of their faith in the federal government and its mammon.


Cliff Kincaid, a veteran journalist and media critic, Cliff concentrated in journalism and communications at the University of Toledo, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Cliff has written or co-authored nine books on media and cultural affairs and foreign policy issues. One of Cliff's books, "Global Bondage: The UN Plan to Rule the World" is still awailable.

Cliff has appeared on Hannity & Colmes, The O’Reilly Factor, Crossfire and has been published in the Washington Post, Washington Times, Chronicles, Human Events and Insight.

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