The Caritas debacle, part 2

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To pick up where I left off a few days ago: Cardinal O'Malley is having the National Catholic Bioethics Center review a deal that the Catholic hospital system Caritas Christi has made with the state government here in Massachusetts.

On the face of it, the plan is a scandal. Still, I'm hoping the immoral aspects of the deal can be corrected, so that for the sake of everyone involved, Caritas could participate in the state program on a legitimate basis.

I'm figuring that the moral problems with the situation are in these areas:

(1) Did Caritas solicit Centene (the company joining them in the project) to set up an abortion-providing insurance plan? If so, that appears to be plainly wrong. Would it be a personal fault by Caritas officials or would it vitiate the plan totally, so that it would remain morally tainted even if other aspects are "corrected"?

(2) Caritas is willingly a part-owner of the new CFHP (joint venture with Centene's subsidiary Celtic Insurance), which will administer the plan and provide abortion coverage as the state contract requires. I doubt that this ownership can be justified under any circumstances. Can Caritas "correct" this aspect by divesting itself of its share in CFHP?

(3) Caritas is, according to its statements in the press, already complying with state rules in a related matter: they give out "Department of Public Health information" on "emergency contraception" to rape victims, as required by law. Does that distinction reflect a difference that makes it morally tolerable?

(4) Can Caritas hospitals and physicians, as a subcontractor to CFHP, comply with the state-imposed contractual requirement to give abortion info? Do their contracts with other insurance companies have the same requirement? Are the hospitals already complying? Can the compliance be fulfilled in some minimalistic way that doesn't violate moral norms? If all the insurance contracts require it, and there is no morally licit way to fulfill the requirement, then I don't see how Caritas can continue to operate.

[Note: I know this is a hot-button topic, so commenters should be on notice. Comments that in my opinion cross the line will be removed. --RC]

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On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

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This page contains a single entry by Richard Chonak published on March 28, 2009 2:50 AM.

Now, here's a Christian country in action! was the previous entry in this blog.

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