Health

Rick Santorum Tries To Explain Why He Does Not Agree With The Catholic Church On Health Care Reform

Rick Santorum has been outspoken about his Catholic faith on the campaign trail, explaining how his faith and personal values have influenced his political positions. But at a campaign event at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma today, Santorum had trouble rationalizing how he reconciled his opposition to health care reform with the Catholic Church’s support of the plan. A questioner asked Santorum, “With you lining up with the Catholic faith on so many issues, why not the Catholic Church on health care since it is a value and a human right?”

Santorum offered a rambling answer, first saying that church’s teachings had shaped his life and then insisting that he also has to consider reason as a politician. “I always say if your faith is true and your reason is right, then you’ll end up in the right place,” he said. “And of course why would God create something where reason would bring you one place and your faith would bring you another if your faith is true?” And as a public official, he said, he had an obligation to talk to people who share his faith and those who don’t:

My conscience was formed as a result of my life experiences and primarily through faith and through the moral values I was taught through the teachings within the Bible and the church. Yes, I bring that to the table. That’s who I am. […]

I look at the Affordable Care Act and say, both from the standpoint of faith, do I believe that people should have the opportunity to purchase health care? Yes. Do I believe that it is the right that the government should impose and control? No. It’s one thing to say that people have an opportunity to access of care. It’s another to say that the government should be the implementer of that. And something tells me that government is the least effective tool to make that the best possible care.

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Of course, Pope Benedict XVI has called health care an “inalienable right,” and added that it is the “moral responsibility of nations to guarantee access to health care for all of their citizens, regardless of social and economic status or their ability to pay.” The Catholic Health Association supported the Affordable Care Act, and during the debate about health care reform, Catholic nuns broke with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to support it. But Santorum will continue to twist the logic to fit the position he wants to support.