If a large Oregon study is any indication, says Jonathan Witt in this week’s Acton Commentary, the Affordable Care Act may drive up frivolous emergency room visits and do little to improve people’s physical or economic health:
In essence, the healthcare industry becomes the enabler in a lucrative game in which patients put off needed lifestyle reform, opting instead for prescription pills, surgeries and conversations about “genetic predispositions.” None of this gets at the root problem, and indeed exacerbates the root problem. People face a moral challenge, to accept responsibility as stewards of their bodies to live a healthy lifestyle. The system, instead of spurring them on to do the responsible thing, all too often invites them to believe they are not responsible and should entrust their genetically hopeless selves into the hands of the medical/pharmaceutical industrial complex.
Access to health care is a basic requirement of a just social order. Physician Donald Condit, drawing on an impressive array of empirical research, skillfully applies the principles of Catholic social teaching to this vital area of concern.