Holy See affirms their support for universal healthcare modelSunday, May 27th, 2012
Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowsk (pictured)i, head of the Holy See delegation to the 65th World Health Assembly, reaffirmed the Holy See's support for universal health coverage for all citizens in his address to the Assembly in Geneva.
The archbishop expressed the Holy See's support for Resolution WHA64.9 on “sustainable health financing structures and universal coverage,” which urges member States to aim for affordable universal coverage and access for all citizens based on equity and solidarity.
He also recalled how Pope Benedict XVI has emphasised the importance of establishing, "real distributive justice which, on the basis of objective needs, guarantees adequate care to all. Consequently, if it is not to become inhuman, the world of healthcare cannot disregard the moral rules that must govern it.”
Archbishop Zimowski noted, "more countries, especially those with emerging economies, are moving towards universal coverage,” thanks also to, "good policies that promote equity. Therefore my delegation strongly believes that in the endeavour to promote universal coverage, fundamental values such as equity, human rights and social justice need to become explicit policy objectives," he said.
The archbishop made an appeal for high-income countries to show greater solidarity towards poorer nations in order to overcome funding shortfalls in health. In this context, he quoted the Encyclical 'Caritas in veritate' in which Benedict XVI writes: "More economically developed nations should do all they can to allocate larger portions of their gross domestic product to development aid, thus respecting the obligations that the international community has undertaken in this regard.”
In conclusion, the head of the Holy See delegation affirmed, “Progress towards universal coverage cannot be the effort of State machinery alone. It requires support from civil society. With over 120,000 social and healthcare institutions worldwide, the Catholic Church is, in many developing countries, one of the key partners of the State in healthcare delivery, providing services in remote areas to rural low-income populations, enabling them to access services that would otherwise be out of their reach.
“The efforts and contribution of such organisations and institutions towards universal access merit the recognition and support of both the State and the international community, without obliging them to participate in activities they find morally abhorrent.”
In Ireland, the topic of universal healthcare was a manifesto issue for Fine Gael before the last general election. Then, in their manifesto statement, they said that, “Fine Gael will establish a system of Universal Health Insurance (UHI) based on the very efficient Dutch model – but adapted to Irish circumstances.” This, they promised, would mean, “the unfair and inefficient two-tier health system in Ireland will disappear.”
by Gerard Bennett