Dr. Scott Morris of Church Health Center pens column for Washington Post

Thumbnail image for G.-Scott-Morris.jpg Dr. Scott Morris, founder and executive director of the Church Health Center in Memphis, writes occasional columns for the Monday Health & Fitness section of The Commercial Appeal, and this week he contributed a column to The Washington Post to weigh in on the complicated debate over health care reform.

Morris begins by suggesting that health care reform, if it doesn't actually cover the working uninsured, could "erode support for faith-based clinics like us and hurt the very people who will continue to rely on us for care."

Among other key points in the column:

True health care reform will incentivize prevention and find a way to mobilize the larger faith community to effect change from within congregations. Not everyone will come to our wellness center, but millions of people go to church. Imagine the difference the faith community could make!

Critics say that paying for preventive services isn't cost effective, but we've only invested a miniscule amount of our research dollars in answering the questions of what real prevention should look like. Why haven't we? There's no financial incentive to do so.

We must recognize that there is a spiritual dimension to life that must be cared for. I'm not suggesting that we write a blank check for mental health treatment, but being poor can be a devastating experience to a person's spirit, and yet the health care system often doesn't recognize that emotional and spiritual suffering can lead to physical illness.

Morris also steps into the touchy end-of-life debate that has made "death panels" one of the year's buzz phrases:

How did we come to believe as a nation that death is the enemy? The cost of prolonging a life with little quality is beyond our means to pay for and is morally wrong, yet no one is willing to fully address the issue on a national level.

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Deputy Online News Editor Mark Richens takes you through all the news about Memphis from sources outside the Mid-South.