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Book and Media Reviews
October 24/31, 2007

Can a Health Care Market Be Moral? A Catholic Vision

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: John L. Zeller, MD, PhD, Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2007;298(16):1943-1949. doi:10.1001/jama.298.16.1944

A comedian once joked, “The US health care system is like the weather—everyone complains about it, but no one can do anything about it.” The statement is not funny to the 47 million people in the United States who lack health insurance and to the millions of other citizens who pay high premiums and deductibles for less and less coverage, translating to greater out-of-pocket expenditures.

In Can a Health Care Market Be Moral? A Catholic Vision, Mary McDonough explores the health care crisis in the United States through the lens of Catholic social teaching. Why should non-Catholics care about the Catholic vision? McDonough points out that the Catholic Church has a large stake in health care reform: “The Catholic health care system is the largest nonprofit provider of health care in the United States” (p 2). Furthermore, the Church's long tradition of social justice and care for the ill and dying gives it a perspective that many secular voices do not have.

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