It’s so weird how Obama keeps trying to talk about health care, and somehow the public ends up talking about something else entirely

New York:

Northeast Health has agreed to abide by Catholic health restrictions upon completion of its affiliation with two Catholic systems, St. Peter’s Hospital (part of Catholic Health East) and Seton Health (part of the Catholic Ascension Health system). That change in hospital policy means an end to abortions, tubal ligations, contraceptive counseling and other services at Northeast Health’s Samaritan Hospital in Troy and Memorial Hospital in Albany. The impact would be particularly severe in Troy, where the only other hospital is St. Mary’s, part of the Seton Health with which Northeast Health is affiliating.
The solution is the Burdett Care Center, a 20-bed maternity facility on the second floor of Samaritan Hospital. It is separately incorporated to insulate the center from the Catholic restrictions that now prevails in the rest of the hospital. As part of the state approval, the center had to be completed prior to the secular hospital’s merger with the two Catholic health systems. The Burdett Care Center consolidates all maternity services from both Troy hospitals and allows women delivering babies to have post-partum tubal ligations. The New York Department of Health approved the Certificate of Need for the Center and provided $6 million in funds from a state grant. It is the first such hospital-within-a hospital solution to a religious/secular merger in New York State, providing an important model for future religious/secular merger situations.

Why are we not talking about these merger accommodations in the context of the bishops’ battle over federal law on health insurance? They’re going on all over the country, and have been for years. Seems ridiculous to claim that President Obama is restricting religious liberty with a rule change at HHS regarding large employers, when the bishops are wheeling and dealing with state regulators all over the country if (and only if) those negotiations are necessary to their continued survival in the health care industry. They can create a “hospital within a hospital” but they can’t structure an employee health insurance benefit that complies with federal law? Come on. How can that be true? They wanted to talk about this. Why do they also get to dictate the limits of the discussion? They follow religious edicts when they act as employers or (maybe more importantly) health care providers. That affects our access to family planning. Discuss.

This is a link to a medical journal library, where you’ll find many articles like this one:

In the US, when one of the two hospitals involved in a merger is a Catholic hospital, comprehensive reproductive health care tends to suffer. The Catholic Church forbids its hospitals from providing and making direct referrals for many reproductive health services (i.e., reversible contraception, infertility treatments, male and female sterilization, abortion, condoms for HIV prevention, and emergency contraception). These mergers are especially severe in small towns and rural areas. Several groups have formed to address this hidden crisis. In Troy, New York, a settlement was reached about 12 months after a law suit was filed against the conditions of a merger between a Catholic hospital and a nonsectarian hospital. After a long fight, the settlement essentially guaranteed that patients who are dependent on religious institutions obtain the contraceptive and sterilization services they need and want, but abortion services and referrals continued to be denied. The state of Montana considered the impact of a merger of a Catholic institution and a nonsectarian institution, yet continued availability of all reproductive health services was not guaranteed. The American Civil Liberties Union asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the merger’s impact on reproductive health care, since the merger created a monopoly on acute care in Great Falls. FTC took no action. Key factors to provision of reproductive health services other than abortion in cases of mergers between a Catholic hospital and a nonsectarian hospital include the type of association the two hospitals enter into, the local bishop’s willingness to accept a creative solution, and the willingness of the state to consider the implications of such a merger and take steps to guarantee the continued availability of services.

This is the reality of health care in the US. It’s big business. Contracts and mergers and lawsuits and huge government subsidies at every level and it’s been like this for decades. Obama’s approach to this tangled-up mess seemed to me to be “first do no harm”. Okay. I see the sense in that. But, can we please at the very least stop pretending it’s 1946 and we all have a neighborhood “doc” and a small local hospital and instead talk honestly about the sorry patched-together corporate-style health care system we actually have, and the huge religious role in this system? What accommodations are we, the public, willing to make? What is the benefit to the public and what are the costs? We’ve been talking about “liberty” since 2009, whether it’s the Tea Party or lawyers or bishops using that word. When do we talk about health care?

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

83 replies
  1. 1
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    But, can we please at the very least stop pretending it’s 1946 and we all have a neighborhood “doc” and a small local hospital and instead talk honestly about the sorry patched-together corporate-style health care system we actually have, and the huge religious role in this system?

    No. Such a discussion means that you hate Baby Jesus with the fire of a thousand suns and would strangle him in the manger with your own filthy, bare, liberal hands if you could.

  2. 2
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: Maybe their version of the Baby Jesus needs to be strangled in the manger.

  3. 3
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    This is why all the firebaggers and their ilk who screamed “OBAMA SOLD US OUT BY NOT IMPLEMENTING SINGLE PAYER!!!!!” never got it. It would have been a titanic shift in health care delivery and one fighting against, like it or not, the main interests that govern policy in this country: monied interests.

    Yeah, it sucks. Yeah we’re potentially screwed. Yeah we’re a joke to the industrialized world but short of an armed revolution, we weren’t going to get all the magic ponies our Purity Brethren seemed to think was possible.

    So go vote for Mittens and see how well that works out for ya.

  4. 4
    srv says:

    What accommodations are we, the public, willing to make?

    If you want your municipal medical hospitals run by competent Catholic Charities who are probably still less likely to pillage you like Gigantic Corporations, then you better be ready to give up a special interest or two.

    Austin lost this battle a decade ago. You would almost think the Charities intentially would take on badly managed or unwanted municipal hospitals to enforce their ideologies on the populace.

    It’s nice to beat the Church pinata, but if your city council is their bitch on not yours, that’s the voters’ fault.

  5. 5
    jl says:

    Thanks for links to info on this, kay. Do you know of a run down on Catholic and other religious institutions’ response to reproductive health coverage over last twenty years. That would be useful in shining a light on the major hypocrisy of the very suddenly and conveniently anti reproductive rights health care providers.

    Seems to me that there were no religious freedom problems until a big, and bogus, national political issue could be made out of it.

  6. 6
    Yutsano says:

    Has anyone done any digging as to how much money the Catholic Church makes off the health care system in the US? It has to be a substantial amount, else what would be the purpose of all these mergers and acquisitions? Ratzi needs his latest Prada after all.

  7. 7
    Kay says:

    @srv:

    Read the link. They’re sometimes merging with for-profits. These are huge health systems. I’m sorry, but this is more sentimentality and we have too much of that already in this “debate”. I’m not even to the point of objecting to these mergers. I’d settle for “acknowledged as fact”.

  8. 8
    Kay says:

    @srv:

    The Troy issue has nothing to do with “Catholic Charities”. It has to do with whether it made sense to subsidize a 20 bed hospital within a hospital to facilitate a health care merger.

  9. 9
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    But, can we please at the very least stop pretending it’s 1946 and we all have a neighborhood “doc” and a small local hospital and instead talk honestly about the sorry patched-together corporate-style health care system we actually have, and the huge religious role in this system? What accommodations are we, the public, willing to make? What is the benefit to the public and what are the costs?

    __
    These are really big complicated issues, with lots and lots of subissues, and the details matter. At some point we have to start paying a price for a public with the attention span of a sugar-addled 8 year old kid who has control of the TV remote. You can’t run a democratic system of public policy debate that requires adult attention spans with that sort of audience. And unfortunately we passed the tipping point a long time ago. So I’m afraid no, we aren’t going to have that discussion, not nationally anyway, and especially not with the news media we have now. With a huge amount of luck we might have that discussion locally on a small scale, but only when it really impacts peoples lives directly and forcefully enough to get them to pay attention.

  10. 10
    Clime Acts says:

    I agree, Kay, it would be wonderful if we had someone powerful on our side in Washington, unafraid to speak the truth over and over again.

    It takes my breath away what the “bishops” are getting away with in two thousand fucking twelve.

    This is a deeply sick and dysfunctional country.

  11. 11
    David in NY says:

    Anyone ever signed in for, say, a colonoscopy or elective surgery of some kind at a Catholic hospital? Notice the fine print. Something goes wrong, you become Terri Schiavo, and they get to decide when to terminate “treatment,” which is to say, never. And, I suppose, your family is supposed to pay.

    That’s outrageous. Be sure to cross out that part when you sign in. I don’t think they noticed.

  12. 12
    Kay says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    I think it’s amazing that the ACLU had to sue to maintain access in a whole geographical area. The ACLU is not a government entity.

    Apparently, I am wholly dependent on hippies holding signs and lefty lawyers :)

    That’s the “regulation”.

  13. 13
    srv says:

    @Kay:

    The Troy issue has nothing to do with “Catholic Charities”. It has to do with whether it made sense to subsidize a 20 bed hospital within a hospital to facilitate a health care merger.

    OK, be pedantic all you want, but Ascension (Seton) is run by orgs like Daughters of Charity, etc

    http://www.ascensionhealth.org.....Itemid=150

    Tossing reproductive units out of hospitals they take over is ancient news. Seton did it to Austin ages ago. Cost Austin $10M or so if I recall.

  14. 14
    Clime Acts says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage:

    It would have been a titanic shift in health care delivery and one fighting against, like it or not, the main interests that govern policy in this country: monied interests.

    Yeah, it would have been HAAAAAARD and CONTROVERSIAL. So the fuck what?

  15. 15
    burnspbesq says:

    Troy may not be the best example. There are two major non-sectarian hospitals within a half hour by car (Albany Medical Center, a teaching hospital affiliated with Albany Medical School, and Ellis in Schenectady).

    Great Falls seems to me to be a better candidate to be the poster child for this problem.

    But it is a real problem.

    And without expending a great deal of time thinking about it, I wonder if the outside-the-box answer to this problem is to treat is as an antitrust law issue.

  16. 16
    David in NY says:

    @Yutsano:

    how much money the Catholic Church makes off the health care system in the US

    As I understand it, the priesthood ran St. Vincent’s in Greenwich Village into bankruptcy by their mismanagement (I knew an insider at the time). So what they’re making might be a mixed bag.

  17. 17
    Clime Acts says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage:

    we weren’t going to get all the magic ponies our Purity Brethren seemed to think was possible.

    are you really still whipping those dead horse cliches?

    Yes. Yes, you are.

    What we Pony People want is a Dem president with the balls and tenacity of the pedo/bishops and pub party.

  18. 18
    Lojasmo says:

    @David in NY:

    Not that way in the hospital I work in.

  19. 19
    burnspbesq says:

    @Clime Acts:

    What we Pony People want is a Dem president with the balls and tenacity of the pedo/bishops and pub party.

    No, what you want is a unicorn that pisses Pilsner Urquell and shits New York Super Fudge Chunk. Sorry, they’re extinct. LBJ shot the last one and barbecued it on his ranch.

    Obama is exactly what he has always been, and he’s never pretended to be anything other than that. Your illusions about him are your issue.

  20. 20
    Kay says:

    @srv:

    Tossing reproductive units out of hospitals they take over is ancient news.

    Sorry again, but that’s a little cavalier for me. I’ve lived all over the country. I’d like to know if I’m going to be subject to religious directives should I have the misfortune of encountering our “health care system”.

    Health care companies have to merge into larger and systems because our health care system is dysfunctional. We spend too much money on health care. That’s why they’re doing it, and it’s accelerating.

  21. 21
    Sly says:

    They wanted to talk about this. Why do they also get to dictate the limits of the discussion?

    You’re talking about a class of people who once “negotiated” with secular authorities on the proper way to dispose of heretics, the ultimate compromise being “we’ll torture them, then you kill them.”

    Why? They’re authoritarian scum. That’s why.

  22. 22
    Smedley the Uncertain says:

    @srv: What ever happened to freedom FROM religion. Apply your doctrine to your flock but leave the rest of us alone.

  23. 23
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Clime Acts:

    What we Pony People want is a Dem president with the balls and tenacity of the pedo/bishops and pub party.

    __
    You’re never going to get that, ever. Dem tough guy presidents FDR and LBJ were both historically contingent special cases which aren’t going to be repeated again, and even they wimped out on major Dem issues at the time, something we very selectively overlook when comparing contemporary leaders to their mythological profiles. And every other Dem or progressive president from TR thru Clinton has been worse than Obama. Carter was worse. Clinton and JFK were much worse, and Truman talked a good game but didn’t get shit passed thru Congress and ended up having to eat Taft-Hartley for his trouble.
    __
    That is why you get called “Pony People”, because you keep wishing for a pony that you are never, ever going to get.

  24. 24
    ottercliff says:

    How can we talk about health care when a lady who never met or worked for Obama went on some TV show and accused Ann Romney of never having had a job?

  25. 25
    Clime Acts says:

    @burnspbesq:

    No, what you want is a unicorn that pisses Pilsner Urquell and shits New York Super Fudge Chunk. Sorry, they’re extinct. LBJ shot the last one and barbecued it on his ranch.

    Um…OK…bullshit.

    Obama is exactly what he has always been, and he’s never pretended to be anything other than that. Your illusions about him are your issue.

    I never had any illusions about him, burnsie. It was obvious from the beginning that he was an operator, beholden to the Corporate Military Industrial Complex, which is why I did not vote in 2008, thank you very much.

    I think the Dems should use your last statement quoted above as O’s 2008 campaign slogan. It would be honest at least.

  26. 26
    Kay says:

    @burnspbesq:

    I don’t think the analysis should turn on “what inconvenience are we willing to impose on other people?” because that isn’t how health care delivery in this country actually works. The way health care delivery in this country actually works is, everything is endlessly complicated and more difficult for low income people. You know this. Start with a car battery, and waste a day on it.

  27. 27
    gene108 says:

    What’s odd is evangelicals are rallying behind the Catholic Bishops.

    There was a historical rift between evangelicals and Catholics in this country.

    It’s interesting that this seems to have been smoothed over in the political arena.

    @Kay:

    our health care system is dysfunctional

    America has the greatest health care system in the world. Any attempt to change it will only make it worse.

    Repeat as needed, in order for it to become true*

    *If you believe it, it must be true. Facts need not be relevant.

  28. 28
    Chyron HR says:

    @Clime Acts:

    I did not vote in 2008

    But you did vote for Obama in an uncontested primary? Just checking.

  29. 29
    Smedley the Uncertain says:

    Kay, your earlier post: http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....uch-about/ discussed the case of a small AZ hospital that the Catholics intended to take over. That hospital provided care to my family and I for 20 years or so. Had the church owned it, my mother may well have been denied a dignified death, my wife her tubal ligation and me my vasectomy. Fortunately the merger did not occur and the community did not have to drive 80 miles to Tucson to receive proscribed services.

  30. 30
    Clime Acts says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    That is why you get called “Pony People”, because you keep wishing for a pony that you are never, ever going to get.

    I actually came up with that name for myself, thank you.

    So please tell me why Pony People, who actually have standards and expectations, should vote for a Democrat?

    “VOTE OBAMA/BIDEN: BECAUSE ALL DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTS ARE WEAK!”

  31. 31
    Culture of Truth says:

    What we Pony People want is a Dem president with the balls and tenacity of the pedo/bishops and pub party.

    Yet the bishops are whining while Obama is winning.

  32. 32
    Clime Acts says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Yes, if it’s any of your business.

    I abstained in 2008, let my Dem registration lapse, then re-registered a few months ago when I got my Mass license and voted for O in the uncontested primary, mainly to appease my beloved partner, who continues to imagine, rather cutely I might add, that it makes a difference.

    That ok with you?

  33. 33
    Kay says:

    @srv:

    srv, I don’t think this is frivolous. I don’t think family planning is a “social issue” and it doesn’t much matter if it’s accesible, because “social issues” can be debated endlessly, and we can agree to disagree, and then that conversation is over.
    I think it’s absolutely central to the ability of people to manage their own lives, and, as a practical matter, it’s economic, if that makes it more “serious” to you, in terms of healthy families. So, the church and I would have sort of a profound disagreement on that. I’m not slamming “charity”. I’m just asking you to look at the reality for individuals, today. Practical. Not theory or aspirations or Big Ideas.

  34. 34
    Culture of Truth says:

    What tenacity and balls have the bishops shown? They got a hearing in Congress and cried about Obama’s new rules. That’s not actually winning.

  35. 35
    David in NY says:

    @Lojasmo:

    Not that way in the hospital I work in [referring to hospital’s reservation of right to keep alive the brain dead, etc.]

    It was at the now-bankrupt St. Vincent’s in NYC. I remember it well.

    But who knows, now my procedure is done in a separate facility anyway, and I try to avoid hospitals as a rule.

  36. 36
    Chyron HR says:

    @Clime Acts:

    If you don’t like people (gasp) remembering the things you say, you can always change your name like the rest of the trolls do.

    (Change your name AGAIN, I mean.)

  37. 37
    Kay says:

    @Smedley the Uncertain:

    80 miles!

    We just had a merger here. It’s not religious- but we now have (I think) one health care “system” that covers a huge radius, judging by the name change, because this is a rural area.

  38. 38
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Clime Acts:

    So please tell me why Pony People, who actually have standards and expectations, should vote for a Democrat?

    Two reasons:

    First, because in the short run the Republicans are worse.

    Second, in the longer run the more people who reliably vote for Dems the more likely it is that space will emerge within the Democratic party for candidates who are further left ideologically. The centrist character of the Democratic party isn’t something they just up and decided to do for grins and giggles, or to piss you off. It is a reflection of the ideological character of the voting electorate in past elections. And if you aren’t in that group, if you don’t vote, then your opinion counts for nothing.

    And the best evidence for that is that the two past Dem presidents most idolized by the Left today, namely FDR and LBJ, were also the two who won by the largest landslides and who also enjoyed the biggest Dem majorities in Congress. The Democratic party moves left when the GOP is out of the picture. This isn’t rocket surgery: do your part to get the GOP out of the picture, if you want the Dems to move to the left.

  39. 39
    wenchacha says:

    If our national hospital system must be intertwined with a faith-based charitable enterprise, I vote that it be Unitarians instead of Catholics.

    Imagine how rich the UU church would be if they had threatened their flock with eternal damnation unless they contributed to the point of impoverishing themselves. Of course, then they wouldn’t be UUs, would they.

  40. 40
    Clime Acts says:

    @Chyron HR:

    what are you babbling about, dildo?

  41. 41
    Culture of Truth says:

    Can you imagine if the situation were reversed, and the Republicans pushed through a policy change permitting employers to withhold coverage on the basis of religion, and Obama did nothing to change it but complained a lot? I suppose then we’d hear “finally Obama shows tenacity and balls!” It is to laugh.

  42. 42
    Smedley the Uncertain says:

    @srv: So denial of legitimate and legal medical services is a good thing for the thousands who do not share your particular brand of religion. The church has no right to insert it’s medieval teachings between my Doctor and myself.

  43. 43
    burnspbesq says:

    @Clime Acts:

    Vote Obama, because if you don’t, Mitt Romney gets to nominate three Supreme Court Justices, and his nominees will be worse that Roberts and Alito.

    That work for you, purity troll?

  44. 44
    JoyfulA says:

    @Lojasmo: Yes, the Catholic hospital I’m (too) familiar with seems more inclined toward euthanasia. It wants all incoming patients to complete its living will form, which is a list of various conditions for charting DNR. The next of kin is counseled not to “allow” “heroic” measures when a patient develops pneumonia, despite the patient’s stated preference for all life-saving efforts. (I insisted on “heroic” measures, and the patient recovered just fine.)

    I’m lucky enough to have a real nonprofit hospital just a few miles farther away, and that’s where I always go now.

  45. 45
    Clime Acts says:

    @burnspbesq:

    That work for you, purity troll?

    You need to work on your recruiting strategy/tactics/language.

    I don’t buy into your whole “purity” schtick anyway. Try it on someone else.

  46. 46
    JoyfulA says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: It’s true:

    Now with a congressional district that is very Democratic rather than one that’s sorta Republican, Blue Dog Tim Holden is being primaried from the left and the polls favor the challenger. (Unfortunately, the good ole Dems in Congress are now plying Tim with money, as if he ever voted with the caucus when they needed him. Also unfortunately, I’m no longer in that district.)

  47. 47
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Kay:

    I don’t think family planning is a “social issue” and it doesn’t much matter if it’s accesible, because “social issues” can be debated endlessly, and we can agree to disagree, and then that conversation is over.
    I think it’s absolutely central to the ability of people to manage their own lives, and, as a practical matter, it’s economic

    __
    This is absolutely spot on
    __

    I’m not slamming “charity”.

    __
    I think this word “charity” is at or near the root of our problem. Healthcare is an essential service. In a modern country having access to it should not be an act of charity any more than having access to electricity or clean water or paved roads should be an act of charity. We don’t have Catholic power and water companies, so why do we have Catholic hospitals? In the 21st Century the words “charity” and “healthcare” have no business being in the same sentence together.
    __
    I understand the historical roots of our hospital system via philanthropy, much of it motivated by religion, and why that means that “charity” is in the discussion, but this is a pre-modern relic of our Faulkner-esque past, one that we are struggling with. And it is a terrible fit to the size and complexity of our healthcare industry today.

  48. 48
    batgirl says:

    @Kay:

    Sorry again, but that’s a little cavalier for me. I’ve lived all over the country. I’d like to know if I’m going to be subject to religious directives should I have the misfortune of encountering our “health care system”.

    Yes. And there are times, such as an emergency where one is taken by ambulance, when one doesn’t have a say which hospital one will end up at. What happens when I’m taken to a Catholic hospital that refuses to follow my living will wishes?

    This is a huge problem that goes beyond abortion. Are all doctors affiliated with the hospital not allowed to prescribe contraceptives? How are ectopic pregnancies treated? As you point out Kay, women’s reproductive health isn’t some frivolous social issue.

  49. 49
    Suffern ACE says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Yep. The little charity based hospital that I would go to in the village has big billboards advertising the strength of it’s cardiology unit. I would not consider the care I would recieve there to be charity were I to have a heart condition. I assume that I would pay for that care. When you charge for those services, it is not charity, no matter how virtuous the service. Feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty are also charitable acts. As is clothing the naked. But the supermarket and Macy’s aren’t running especialy virtuous businesses or charitable, even if they set aside some of their profits for donations to the local food bank or clothing drive.

  50. 50
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Yes, and the problem with us continuing to think that a hospital is in any sense a charity is that it drags along the very intuitive notion that the giver of alms is the person who should get to decide what sort of alms are given.
    __
    The Catholic Charities approach to running a hospital makes as much sense as having a Catholic power company who is empowered to cut off your electricity if you are using the lights to read books by Richard Dawkins or watch The DaVinci Code on TV.

  51. 51
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    I understand the historical roots of our hospital system via philanthropy, much of it motivated by religion, and why that means that “charity” is in the discussion, but this is a pre-modern relic of our Faulkner-esque past, one that we are struggling with.

    Exactly. What happened in the rest of the developed world — for instance, in places like Canada, which still has fairly large private religious/charitable hospitals — was that the infrastructure of universal healthcare was established before those providers became large corporate entities hiding behind their not-for-profit status.

    Instead, you have the weird melding of the Catholic medical service tradition with the evangelical-conservative idea of charity as a (self-aggrandizing) personal virtue.

  52. 52
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Clime Acts: The number of people who think Obama is not liberal enough is, if I remember the polls at all accurately, something like 10%. With a winner-take-all electoral system, 10% doesn’t get you very far. Thus it seems like it would make sense for those 10% to team up with the 41% to their immediate right in order to thwart the efforts of the 49% to the right of _that_. As opposed to drawing a thick line to your immediate right and saying “the rest of you, 90% of the populace, are indistinguishable and dead to me.”. I don’t see where that can ever lead.

  53. 53
    Kay says:

    @batgirl:

    Are all doctors affiliated with the hospital not allowed to prescribe contraceptives?

    I don’t know. Good question.

    I would like to stop thinking of this from the point of view of people who have easy and ready access to health care, because those are not the people who will be affected. It won’t be people like me. I can take time off. I can drive. I have child care.
    If someone wants permanent sterilization, man or woman, which is an ordinary health care service and perhaps a big deal in terms of time and money to a person who cannot deal with the constant refills etc, of contraception, they should be able to get it, without that being cordoned off as some “special request” that they are DEMANDING. It’s health care.

  54. 54
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:
    __
    I think there is a cultural dynamic behind this history as well. As other First World nations moved towards a universal healthcare system, many of them did so with a tradition of being less religiously pluralistic than here in the US and hence also having a tradition of aggressive anti-clericalism in their politics. So for those nations it was a no-brainer that the Church would not be the main decision maker empowered to dictate to everybody else how the healthcare system would be run.
    __
    But here in the US we’ve never developed the sort of anti-clerical strains that you see recurring in somewhere like say France. It never occurred to us to worry that any one religious sect would be big enough or powerful enough to simply take over large segments of the hospital industry and impose their theology on everyone. And yet courtesy of these mergers and acquisitions, that is precisely what is happening now. And notice how each merger enhances the power of the Church by leveraging the aggregate volume of the post-merger business to extend the sway of their doctrines over populations who were not previously their subjects. A pair of hospitals that were previously only 50% Catholic in doctrine becomes 100% Catholic after a merger. A neat trick that. Apparently homeopathy works when it comes to mixing theology and business.

  55. 55

    Hey, I noticed that you’re quoting an article from Merger Watch, but the link you have doesn’t include that quote at all (it actually links to this from last January about Catholic Healthcare West. I couldn’t find the correct one, do you still have it?

  56. 56
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Here’s a thought experiment from the other side of the spectrum: if Catholic Charities was in the business (on a large scale) of running private prisons, would it be OK for them to impose Church doctrine regarding the death penalty by banning executions and refusing to allow death row prisoners to be tranfered to other more secular facilities?

  57. 57
    Kay says:

    @Kevin Marshall:

    Sure.

    It’s under “mergers, recent cases, smart compromise in Troy NY”.

  58. 58
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Ooh, I like that.

  59. 59
    srv says:

    @Smedley the Uncertain:

    What ever happened to freedom FROM religion. Apply your doctrine to your flock but leave the rest of us alone.

    Your city council found your freedoms conditional on their economic/management realities. More to come.

    @Kay

    I think it’s absolutely central to the ability of people to manage their own lives, and, as a practical matter, it’s economic

    A near majority of the populace sees abortion as a social issue.

    While I’m all for the idea that the dying church is branching out as a non-profit business and should be forced to our ideology, I don’t see you winning that battle with SCOTUS. This will be a local battle, and in Austin and California, the war is over.

  60. 60
    Chris says:

    @gene108:

    What’s odd is evangelicals are rallying behind the Catholic Bishops.

    There was a historical rift between evangelicals and Catholics in this country.

    It’s interesting that this seems to have been smoothed over in the political arena.

    To a large extent, “Evangelical” and “Catholic” translates to “conservative Southern WASP” (the old Dixiecrat voter bloc) and “urban, ‘ethnic white’ Northerner” (the Irish, the Italians, the Poles, etc). Those two groups supplied a terrific amount of the white backlash voters who jumped ship to the Republicans in the 1970s, and there was a political bonding (if not a social one) between those two groups of ex-Democrats then.

    The religious alliance is just a byproduct of the general coming-together those two demographics had in the 1970s, methinks.

  61. 61

    […] Troy hospitals to stop offering family planning services? April 13, 2012By kevinmarshallBalloon Juice, via MergerWatch.org: Catholic affiliations mean Troy Hospitals can’t offer fami… […]

  62. 62
    Chris says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    The number of people who think Obama is not liberal enough is, if I remember the polls at all accurately, something like 10%. With a winner-take-all electoral system, 10% doesn’t get you very far. Thus it seems like it would make sense for those 10% to team up with the 41% to their immediate right in order to thwart the efforts of the 49% to the right of that. As opposed to drawing a thick line to your immediate right and saying “the rest of you, 90% of the populace, are indistinguishable and dead to me.”. I don’t see where that can ever lead.

    Agreed.

    Hell, that’s exactly how movement conservatives took over the GOP. Yes, sure, Eisenhower and Rockefeller are godless communists, but they’re not quite as godless and communist as Truman and Stevenson, so let’s stay in their party and try to nudge them rightward.

  63. 63
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Chris: Perhaps that 10% could look at how that GOP takeover happened and learn something about how that was done, but then that would involve admitting that what they have been doing hasn’t worked at convincing anyone but themselves of their righteousness.

  64. 64
    efgoldman says:

    @Clime Acts:

    What we Pony People want is a Dem president with the balls and tenacity of the pedo/bishops and pub party.

    Then run a Unicorn and Glitter(tm) candidate, get her nominated, then elected, and stop yer fucking firebagger whining! Oh, while you’re at it, get him a Congress through which he can get a third of what he wants. Otherwise, SHUT THE FUCK UP!

  65. 65
    Kay says:

    @srv:

    A near majority of the populace sees abortion as a social issue.

    You’re ignoring how broad this is. Read. It’s much, much bigger than abortion. I know there’s an absolute obsession with abortion, but a majority of the population uses contraception. Partitioning off health care into the dreaded “social issues” category is a false division. It minimizes.

    While I’m all for the idea that the dying church is branching out as a non-profit business and should be forced to our ideology

    Yeah, because that’s what I said. They should be “forced to my ideology”. As far as I’m concerned, you have a romantic idea about this that is not reality, but you don’t want to talk about reality. You want to talk about “forced” and “ideology”. I don’t consider health care intrinsically “ideological”. I don’t think most people that wander into their regional hospital do either. You’re insisting I adopt the religious viewpoint , from that perspective, but there is another way to look at this, and it from the public’s viewpoint. I’m not interested in theology, I’m interested in health care. Further, it looks to me like they are doing a good job dominating the debate with these large and lofty themes that obscure the facts and put off any difficult discussions. They don’t need my help.

  66. 66
    efgoldman says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Perhaps that 10% could look at how that GOP takeover happened and learn something about how that was done…

    I remind you of Will Roger’s famous aphorism “I don’t belong to any organized political party; I’m a Democrat.”

  67. 67
    efgoldman says:

    @Kay: Just out of curiosity, do the Red Beanie hospitals/clinics prescribe/dispense the forbidden words pills for men?
    It would just add to the maze of levels of hypocrisy.

  68. 68

    Funny, there are always several who think that if the Pres isn’t left enough for folks they should vote for Mittens and see how that works out. I can understand the thought process that would lead left to voting way right to get a lesson learned by the public but I doubt it would work. What the comment really means is shut up and vote for your lesser evil because it is lesser. Well, I will vote that way but the shut up part seems designed to make sure that whatever left agenda just never happens rather than it can’t now.

    If you just shut up how the hell is anyone supposed to know you care about something? Maybe OWS hasn’t resulted in legislation or dis-elected Congresspeople but something that was out of discussion became discussed rather extensively and the POV was demonstrably left of anywhere Democrats had been going.

    Now, as to how much work or money I’ll put into this election may have something to do with how much I figure has been expended on my POV. Well, the economy may have something to do with the lack of $0.02 to send to express my pleasure.

  69. 69
    Kay says:

    @efgoldman:

    I don’t know, but I have so much trouble getting from those pills to contraception. I can never make that logical connection. The two things are very different to me. I know everyone else sees this.

    I’m missing something :)

  70. 70
    Kay says:

    @srv:

    srv, to me, it’s like I said “let’s talk about health care!” and you replied “charity and liberty” (if my “forcing” someone to adopt “my ideology” is a liberty theme).

    That’s my whole complaint. I think we’ve spent enough time on the “charity/liberty” angle. Let’s talk about health care.

  71. 71

    @FlipYrWhig:

    10% to team up with the 41% to their immediate right in order to thwart the efforts of the 49%/blockquote>

    Evidently you suck at math rather badly or just stuck your head up your ass to make your rather stupid point. Given your assumptions that 10% can’t possibly come out of your other 49% so there aren’t 41% to the immediate right, 10% of a total would put that at 31% to the immediate right with 10% of a whole being 20% of a half. That sure the fuck makes your number of Sensible People to the “immediate right” a hell of a lot less impressive.

    I makes the percentage to be persuaded a hell of alot smaller to get the percentage of “immediate right” to go along with the lesser evil. IOW – you can stop being a stupid fuck and not get accused of it.

  72. 72

    @Kay:
    I bet I can twist it enough… if you need those blue pills and can’t get them, the other part of the equation is probably safe from at least one of the consequences of lack of contraception.

    I don’t guess that will do, but I get something for effort – don’t I?

  73. 73
    Clime Acts says:

    @efgoldman:

    \Then run a Unicorn and Glitter™ candidate, get her nominated, then elected, and stop yer fucking firebagger whining! Oh, while you’re at it, get him a Congress through which he can get a third of what he wants.

    Hmmm…no, I have a full time job already, douche brain. I have to rely on political types to do what you’re screeching about. And if they don’t do their job, then, like millions of other people, I don’t vote for them. That’s how it works.

    Another 2012 Obama campaign slogan “IF YOU CAN DO MY JOB BETTER THAN ME, THEN DO IT. OTHERWISE SHUT UP AND VOTE FOR ME!”

    I don’t think that will work very well.

    Also too: No, I don’t think I will “shut up,” per your request. No…I don’t think I will. I’m pushing from the left, you see. While you choose to enable from the so called center right while Obama sells us out right AND left.

  74. 74
    Clime Acts says:

    @efgoldman:

    oooh, look: It used cap locks and the bold button.

    THAT WILL SHOW ME!

  75. 75
    ruemara says:

    You know, considering that Clime Acts has already stated that he/she/whatever did not vote in ’08, does not view him/herself as a political participant and based on past precedent, I wonder why y’all persist in engaging? This is just argument clinic for them, where they can get off on the slagging. This is a damned important issue and it has nothing to do with President Obama and yes, the ultra-pure left who are so disenchanted they must let us all know they are disenchanted every. FUCKING. THREAD. S/He has an opinion, so the fuck what. Move on and discuss the damned issue of Catholic takeover of secular hospitals.

  76. 76
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Chuck Butcher: I don’t see the problem with his numbers. If you have 10% of voters on the extreme left, that will never be enough to win an election. The 10% has to make an alliance with enough people to their right to reach 51%. 10 + x = 51. x = 41.

  77. 77
  78. 78
  79. 79
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    10/41 is…

    Irrelevant?

    You’re overcomplicating this.

    FlipYrWhig was talking about percentages of the set of all voters, not a percentage of a subset:

    10% – Ideologically Pure voters
    41% – Ideologically Impure voters needed for a majority
    49% – Everyone else

    That adds up to 100% of voters. 10% + 41% = 51%, which is a majority part of 100%.

    I’m quite good at both arithmetic and math, but I frankly don’t have the energy tonight to reverse engineer what you think FlipYrWhig was saying.

  80. 80
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Chuck Butcher: it’s called “addition.” it’s not complicated. I stand by it,and you can jam your sense of superiority up your smug ass sideways twice.

  81. 81
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Chuck Butcher: I think where you’re getting messed up is by misreading the phrase “immediate right.”. Imagine 100 voters lined up from most liberal to most conservative. You have the 10 most liberal on your side. You need 51 to win, so you need 41 more. With me so far? The group you need, then, is from the 11th most liberal to the 51st most liberal. It’s the 41 people standing to the immediate right of your group. Not 41 people who are right of center. “Stupid fuck,” heal thyself.

  82. 82
    Lawnguylander says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Ha! Never have I seen someone be so objectively and belligerently wrong before. Maybe it’s time to put the bottle down and pass out. Fucking idiot.

  83. 83
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Lawnguylander: And he never even came back to admit he was wrong. Probably still thinks he sure showed me a thing or 10/41.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Troy hospitals to stop offering family planning services? April 13, 2012By kevinmarshallBalloon Juice, via MergerWatch.org: Catholic affiliations mean Troy Hospitals can’t offer fami… […]

Comments are closed.