Arkansas Catholic bishop endorses private option legislation | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Arkansas Catholic bishop endorses private option legislation

Posted By on Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock has written in favor of the private option health insurance legislation up for re-authorization in the coming legislative session.

  • SUPPORTS PRIVATE OPTION: Bishiop Anthony Talor.
Sister Joan Pytlik, who's been working for social justice in the diocese for years, talked with me about this possibility during a chance visit in the hardware store last Saturday. We were both celebrating the broad commitment of the new pope to minister to the needy.

The bishop is a welcome addition to the coming debate. Here's his article in Arkansas Catholic. It's explanatory and fact-filled. It also draws on church teaching.

Each person has an inalienable right to life. This right is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States and is the core of Catholic social teaching. It inescapably follows that for that right to life to have meaning, one must have the opportunity to obtain the necessities of life: food, clothing, shelter and health care. Although everyone has the responsibility to work hard and live frugally to obtain life’s necessities, we must also recognize that there are those who will face challenges and will need help. We who are blessed with talent and are able to take advantage of the opportunities made available in our nation have the obligation to care for the less fortunate. We fulfill this obligation by personal acts of charity, through our churches and charities, and through our government. - See more at:

The bishop doesn't oversell the plan.

In the end, the private option is unlikely to see the worst case predicted by opponents or the best case presented by the supporters. The actual result will be in the messy middle. Such is life. With this private option experiment, we have the greater chance of satisfying the common good by bringing affordable health care within reach of poor Arkansans. I urge our General Assembly to consider the prayer of Pope Francis: "I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor! It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to insure that all citizens have dignified work, education and health care." -

Preach, father. Have believers really any greater imperative than tending the needs of the poor and sick? Nowhere does the Bible say, "Get yours first."

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