Heavy on my mind these days are ethical conflicts between my thoroughly considered and deeply held convictions on the best way to keep my country great, and the convenient positions staked out by some professional organizations to which I belong, and by other associations that include my employer’s public interest group.
This blog contains plenty of documentation of the former (my convictions), so I won’t reiterate them at this time. I’ll instead tease out some of the issues relating to the latter, beginning with nursing organizations.
The American Nurses Association and Ohio Nurses Association were among the most vocal supporters of the healthcare “reform” act. This is for several reasons. One, much of the ANA and ONA membership consists of labor union bargaining groups, and unions in general tend to be blindly supportive of any and all liberal Democrat initiatives. Two, it is true that some of the provisions contained within the act really do advance the cause of the nursing profession, of nurses, and of their patients. That fact should not encourage us to drink poison just because it has had beneficial vitamins added to it; we die with or without the vitamins. A better course by far is to scrap the poison and just enact the salutary elements. Unfortunately the partisan majority in Congress refused to consider such a wise approach.
As for provider groups, such as hospitals, the main “sweetener” in the law is expanded coverage for the uninsured. So the theory goes, the fewer patients we have who don’t carry health insurance, the fewer cases that end up as self pay or “no pay.” Therefore, our bottom line will be better. Now I am not a healthcare finance expert, nor do I play one on TV, but as welcome as this development may be, I am fearful of the downside. Namely, the accompanying movement of patients to Medicare and Medicaid (and plans that pay like them), combined with cuts to providers under Medicare and the palpable prospect of states needing to slash Medicaid reimbursement to balance their budgets, will likely result in a net loss for hospitals, even with fewer self pay and bad debt claims. And, the real gorilla in the room, not in the law now but certainly visible as a gleam in the progressives’ eyes, is the “public option” which rapidly leads us to single-payer territory; I am convinced that single-payer will completely destroy our country’s healthcare environment.
Catholic healthcare entities face an additional risk, over the eventual prospect that Federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and that someday they will be compelled to provide said services. (I doubt the sop to Bart Stupak, Marcy Kaptur, and their liberal friends will either stand or be enforced.) So far the Catholic Health Association does not seem to see that danger and, again intoxicated by the anticipated added revenue from enhanced (but by no means universal) access, they have sipped the Leftist Kool-Aid. So have other liberal religious groups, all in the name of social justice. This is a topic for another entire post, but I will boil it down to the essence: when you hear “social justice,” an adequate substitution to make is “Marxism.” I in no way agree with the principles of Marxism, and I believe that moving our country too far in that direction, whether via revolution or evolution, will inevitably lead to its extinction.
So, I respectfully disagree with the political stance of many of the organizations with which I am associated. So be it. They may define part of WHAT I am (a nurse, a leader in the various organizations), but they cannot change WHO I am. I am an American and a patriot, and I cannot in those capacities abide the ruinous path we are following. I will do what small part I can to reverse the tide of collectivism that threatens to wash over us, before it’s too late.