Two conservative leaders in Colorado, Archbishop Charles Chaput and state Senator Greg Brophy, R-Wray, are advancing the position that no health reform is better than the reform presently being proposed by Democratic leaders in Washington. It’s a refreshingly honest if shockingly hard-line position to adopt in the face of a national crisis that affects people in the most immediate way every hour of every day.
When vast percentages of Americans take it as a given that the national health-care system is broken, conservatives asking federal lawmakers to pass no reform this year is remarkable, even if it’s the same effective position Republicans across the country have adopted and one we will hear advanced in perhaps increasingly clear tones as the health-reform debate continues on Capitol Hill this month.
Writing in the Denver Catholic Register, Chaput takes aim at a recent pro-Obama health reform op-ed published in the Tablet, a British Catholic journal, which asks American bishops to move beyond single issues like abortion and look to support the greater “common good” proposd by the Democratic legislation.
The op-ed “proves once again that people don’t need to actually live in the United States to have unhelpful and badly informed opinions about our domestic issues,” writes Chaput. He then offers a reading of the health-reform debate that raises abortion-funding as the main priority and that fuels right-wing talk-radio and insurance-industry distortions regarding the institution of so-called death panels:
No system that allows or helps fund – no matter how subtly or indirectly — the killing of unborn children, or discrimination against the elderly and persons with special needs, can bill itself as “common ground.” Doing so is a lie.
Chaput moves toward his conclusion with what already sounds like a refrain that will be revisited countless times throughout the next few months:
[F]ast-tracking a flawed, complex effort this fall, in the face of so many growing and serious concerns, is bad policy. It’s not only imprudent; it’s also dangerous. As Sioux City’s Bishop R. Walker Nickless wrote last week, “no health-care reform is better than the wrong sort of health-care reform.”
Earlier in the month at his blog, Senator Brophy targeted any public option health-care plan for the same treatment:
People really want our existing system reformed, but they know that what the Democrats are offering isn’t reform. It’s more of the same, but worse.
If we have to choose between the public option and what we have now, status quo is better, not the best, but better.