Friday, December 30, 2011

Don't Let Deference to Freakazoids Trump the Law

UPDATE: In the best political news of the year in Kentucky, Governor Steve Beshear has rejected the merger. No, I don't believe it, either.

Kentucky is about to turn its largest public hospital over to a bunch of women-hating, poor-people-exploiting, child-rapist-protecting, anti-Democratic, un-American clerics who will let people die rather than obey the law.

(Kentucky Governor Steve) Beshear said he wants to make a decision “by the end of the year.”

“I think the merger partners have requested that I do that because they’ve got some … legal issues with bonds and different things that if they get to move ahead they need to do so by Dec. 31,” Beshear said. “So I think I owe it to them. I think we’ve spent the time we need to spend, and gathered the information we need to gather, and I’ve got to sit down once I get the attorney general’s report — either this afternoon or tomorrow — and make a decision.”

The merger would unite University Hospital with Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System in Lexington, which is owned by Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives.

CHI follows Catholic health directives, and University Hospital has agreed not to perform certain procedures, such as sterilizations — prompting concern by many area residents and leaders.

"Concerns" is a gross understatement. Terror and fury are the appropriate responses.

As I wrote in September and November, this merger will simply kill the public hospital, eliminate all services not approved by His Popey-Rapeyness, and leave Louisville's 99 Percenters at the mercy of the Big Pharma profiteers who run the private hospitals.

Religion and health care don't mix. Never have. Never will.

Kevin Drum:

Ed Kilgore recommends Peter Laarman's top ten list of ignored stories in the world of religion. I can't say I really understand why I should care that Southern Baptists are apparently becoming more Calvinist (#3 on the list), but even so, this is more interesting than, say, the top ten celeb fashions of 2011 or the top ten Republican hostage taking incidents. And this one certainly deserves a bigger spotlight:

6. Upside-Down Ideas About Religious Liberty

The dramatic new push for religious liberty exemptions for faith-connected providers of taxpayer-supported health services underscores the radical way in which understandings of religious liberty have changed in recent years. It's not that the push for exemptions hasn't made the news; it's that no one is writing (at least in the MSM) about the radical nature of the shift. In the past, the social service arms of religious bodies understood that if they wanted public money they would need to honor public law regarding the disposition of the money: i.e., provide the full range of mandated services on a universal basis. We used to say to objectors, “If you don’t like the mandate, don’t take the money.”

Apparently such a commonsensical response is now insufficiently deferential to religion. More and more people seem willing to say that if a Catholic health care provider doesn’t “believe” in providing reproductive health care to women, that private belief can trump public law. This is a particularly thorny problem because of the many regional health care system mergers involving Catholic partners: there are now many places in the country where, if a dominant provider that toes the bishops’ line won’t provide the service, area women will be out of luck and deprived of benefits they are entitled to receive by law. Does anyone defer to them? Afraid not.

I'm not sure I'd say this has been entirely ignored in the mainstream media, but it certainly gets less attention than it has at some times in the past, despite the fact that it's a problem that's continued to grow and continued to expand. A decade ago it was mostly restricted to abortion services, but since then its tentacles have spread to just about anything that religious conservative simply don't like very much. It's also one of those things that can be strongly influenced by executive orders, which means it depends a lot on who happens to be president. Just another reason to care about what happens next November.

The only gleam of hope in this looming catastrophe is that the University of Kentucky's hospital in Lexington will get a good, up-close look at what happens when you sell out the public commonweal, and shred any nascent merger plans of its own.


c u n d gulag said...

This race to privatization of everything will kill this country. It's almost there now.

The problem is, that the people who want to privatize, pay-off our "Public Servants," and they, in turn, sell the public they're suppose to serve into a form of serfdom/slavery, with no rights, except those that will enrich the privatizers and their political whores.
And, from a financial aspect, "privatizing" what was once a government fuctcion, ALWAYS costs the public more, with less benfits. ALWAYS!

We are rapidly becoming a Fascist state, where the laws all benefit the corporations, and religion will be the enforcement arm of the state.
And Fascist states all want women to breed more children. The "funny" thing is, most other previous Fascist states like Germany, or Italy, or Franco's Spain, also had very good public health and support systems to help the mothers and their large families. We, on the other hand, are taking on the same paternalistic attitudes, but without any of "Daddy State" benefits, like those states had.

There’s a healthy dose of modern American Christianist/Fascist paternalism. One where, we outlaw abortion, but only prosecute the doctor, or whoever perfomed it:
‘You poor, poor, silly women!
I mean, you can’t trust you to make the right decision on a good day, so, when you’re pregnant – forget about it! At least we get a break from your PMS, but pregnancy is a 9 month test of our male patience and endurance!
Don’t worry, little lady, we know your hormones were all screwed up, so we’ll punish the doctors and nurses, and everyone else besides you, you poor, poor, dear. You get to skate. Here, sit down and have some tea and a good cry. That’s a good girl…’

But if you need things like child care, health services, education, etc., that the mother with whoever’s willing to help her can’t provide. Well, don't look to us - That's SOCIALISM!
So, don't expect any help from us - look around for some good old Christian charity.
And if you can't get that, well, then, “life” doesn’t come with any guarantees, so, you’re SOL, and have no “Right to Live.”

I’m so tired of “Right to Lifer’s” who who only define “life” as a fetus, and don’t don’t give a shit how the baby and mother live after the kid pops out.

Because, then, after the child is born, it goes from “Right to Life” to “You Have No RIGHT To Live. You’re On Your Fucking Own!”

So, good luck, and say your prayers…

And things like this in KY, will be the model for the new United Domionionist Christian Corporate States of America.

The Conservatives drive towards privatization is the cancer that will kill this country. And, as I said earlier, it's already on life-support.

And sorry if I strayed a bit off topic in my rant.

Tom Hilton said...

I wrote a few years back, in a similar context, about the perversion of the word "conscience"--about people using the word to refer not to their own behavior but to controlling the behavior of others. That's the warped idea behind all of this idiocy.