David Gibson rounds up various post-B16 reactions of the USCCB to the Affordable Care Act. (I don’t use the nickname, be advised.)
Regarding those threats to close things down, Bishop Blase Cupich seems sensible:
These kinds of scare tactics and worse-case scenario predictions are uncalled for and only unnecessarily disturb the hardworking and dedicated people who are employed by the Church.
And Cardinal O’Malley also chimed in to say that shutting down ministries would itself be an evil. Welcome, bishops, to the real world. Lay people have to make difficult choices every day. Even in my own parish, our business manager put down the scare tactics last year, suggesting that we might be losing employee medical insurance over it. I’m not sure I would be going to jail over that, but I certainly wouldn’t hesitate giving my BM, my pastor, and my bishop a very strongly-worded piece of my mind over that one.
I still say the Knights of Columbus missed a big-time opportunity on this one. They did a great thing providing life insurance to family men over a century ago. I suspect they have the expertise to put a medical insurance plan into place that would be divorced from employment. Maybe they could have gotten into that in the 90’s. I don’t know, but it sure would have been good. Now that we’re mostly all shoehorned into a Republican plan for the ACA, they probably don’t have the freedom to do something like that.
It’s all still up in the air:
(T)he Supreme Court could make this all moot by ruling in favor of the bishops. The justices on Tuesday (Nov. 26) are expected to decide which of the many challenges to the mandate they will take up, with the rulings expected in June.
But if the verdicts go against the bishops, they may well have few tools — and little desire — to take the battle much further.
For once, I’d like to see my bishop join others and stand up for church employees. My insurance policy gets tinkered with every year. My cost-of-living salary increases seem to get swallowed up in premiums every Fall. With my wife and I deep in our fifties, I have concerns that GOP/capitalist-inspired death squads will get us ejected from our insurance someday. We’ve already weathered one bankruptcy due to piles of medical bills. (And we were insured for those!) I don’t mind living on the lower fringes of the middle class while serving the church and the people I love. I just don’t want to see my family cast by the wayside because of some combination of a lack of gratitude, episcopal short-sightedness, and a profit-mongering insurance industry preying on the powerless.
Hence, you can see my main reasoning for hoping ACA comes to an end soon and national insurance substituted. Hire all the underlings in the industry, let the insurance CEO’s flip burgers for awhile, and give the needy an upgrade.