On Sunday, George Will said the following: “The Catholic bishops, it serves them right. They’re the ones who were really hot for Obamacare, with few exceptions. But they were all in favor of this.”
Yesterday, Jay Carney said: “And I would simply note with regard to the bishops that they never supported healthcare reform to begin with.”
Both men are factually wrong.
Jay Carney needs a history lesson. No institution in American society has supported universal healthcare longer than the Catholic Church; they’ve been pushing for healthcare reform since Carney was riding a tricycle. The first Catholic hospitals in the United States were founded by the Ursuline Sisters in the early eighteenth century—long before the American Revolution—and they served everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. Indeed, the first Catholic hospitals in history were founded in the fourth century, and from the very beginning they served non-Catholics, such as pagans.
George Will cannot name a single bishop—not one—who backed Obamacare. On February 27, 2009, just a month after he was inaugurated, President Obama undid a Bush administration rule granting conscience rights to healthcare employees who refuse to take part in abortions. It was that kind of decision that eventually led the bishops to oppose Obamacare.
The bishops have long championed universal healthcare as an American right. It’s just that their idea of caring for people doesn’t include killing some of them.