Vatican Supports Universal Health Care Within ‘Moral Rules’

GENEVA (CNS) – The Vatican praised national efforts to provide universal and affordable health care access and coverage, noting that policies based on the principles of equity, human rights and social justice ensure the best care for the most people.

Governments also should recognize and support the work of nongovernmental organizations, including the church, in their efforts to provide wider health care access “without obliging them to participate in activities they find morally abhorrent,” said Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, head of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry.

The archbishop made his comments to senior government health care officials attending the World Health Organization’s annual World Health Assembly in Geneva.

Archbishop Zimowski, who headed the Vatican delegation to the assembly, urged all 194 member states “to aim for affordable universal coverage and access for all citizens on the basis of equity and solidarity.”

He reiterated Pope Benedict XVI’s call for “real distributive justice which, on the basis of objective needs, guarantees adequate care to all,” while adding that health care should never “disregard the moral rules that must govern it.”

The archbishop said, “The efforts and contribution of such organizations and institutions toward universal access merit the recognition and support of both the states and the international community” without requiring such organizations to take part in gravely immoral activities, he said.