Monday, May 29, 2017

Just one hospital

In Gary, Indiana, the St. Mary Medical Center (where Michael Jackson was born) closed in 1995. That left Methodist Hospital as the only one in town. But this sole survivor isn’t doing well, likely because Gary isn’t doing well after its steel mills closed and half the population left. A lot of Methodist’s patients are on Medicaid or don’t have insurance.

As a way out of financial difficulties the CEO of Methodist Hospitals (they run a second one in nearby Merrillville) proposed to merge with Franciscan Health. And, as the name implies, it is a Catholic organization that follows the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops directives on permissible care.

So, yeah, no abortions. Also no surgery for transgender people, no chance of a tubal ligation as part of a cesarean birth, perhaps no care while in the process of miscarrying, limited fertility treatments, and restricted choices for end-of-life care.

Marie Siroky is a former nun and is a part of the crusade to prevent the merger said:
It is substandard care, because you’re not giving people all of their choices. I respect religious polity and doctrines of the church. Those are yours, and I respect them. But when you force them on someone else, that is where, to me, where it becomes unjust and immoral.
This is a problem because it is 20 minutes by car to the nearest non-Catholic hospital – longer for the poor who rely on buses.

Catholic health systems have one in six acute-care hospital beds nationwide, one in four in Indiana. Nationwide 46 of these hospitals are “sole community hospitals,” meaning they are at least 35 miles away from another hospital.

Franciscan Health is the largest Catholic system in the Midwest with 14 hospitals. They are also leading the attack on the non-discrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Attorneys for the lawsuit wrote:
Franciscan sincerely believes that providing insurance coverage for gender transition, sterilization, and abortion would constitute impermissible material cooperation with evil.
In December a federal judge ruled in favor of Franciscan Health. Now the nasty guy appears ready to gut the rules.

A person obsessed with ranking – the nasty guy – sees a kindred spirit in an organization obsessed with ranking. Perhaps obsessed is too strong a word? Catholic hospitals are imposing their views of acceptable health care – I get to decide on your care – on whole cities unlucky enough to not be able to support a second hospital. And their views result in deaths, using my tax dollars to do so.

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