Pope Francis Calls Out Inequality in Healthcare

By Gabriel Sozzi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Gabriel Sozzi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Healthcare inequality is more pronounced in wealthier countries.

Pope Francis in strong terms condemned on November 16 the prevailing inequality pertaining to healthcare[/tweetit] in developed nations. He said the governments of countries have the duty to protect all citizens. In his speech at a conference of the World Medical Association, he pointed out only the rich and the privileged can access sophisticated treatments because these treatments are expensive. He continued on to say such inequalities in healthcare delivery raise the ever expanding inequality in healthcare.

Pope Francis Calls Out Inequality in Healthcare[/tweetthis]

This is not the first time Pope Francis has raised healthcare issues. In an earlier speech, he said health can never be a consumer good. It is a universal right. It follows that health services access could not be termed a privilege. He said in multiple locations across the world, healthcare is denied to a large number of people. He told his audience consisting of supporters, volunteers, and members of the Doctors with Africa organization that access to treatment, pharmaceuticals, and health services continues to be a mirage to many. He said any healthcare organization must have compassion as one of its core driving forces. This includes the compassion of the staff volunteers, doctors, and nurses and any other person who can minimize the pain that comes with anxiety and loneliness. He asked health care workers to listen, support, and accompany the individuals they care for.

The pontiff told the audience “This raises questions about the sustainability of healthcare delivery and about what might be called a systemic tendency toward growing inequality in healthcare.” He went on to say this is clearly observed when the healthcare system is compared between continents and countries. The pope said the disparity is seen most in wealthy nations. In developed countries, access to healthcare depends more on the economic resource of the individual. The need for treatment matters less in such cases.

Pope Francis was careful not to mention any specific country. It is to be mentioned that healthcare is a major issue in present-day America. President Donald J. Trump has pledged to roll back the Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare. The ACA was introduced by Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama. The law made it easier for the economically poor to acquire health insurance. The pope said that legislation in healthcare requires a wider vision. There is also the need for a more exhaustive view of promoting the common good in every concrete situation.


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