Here are some principles that can guide us in our debate.
Principle #1 - ALL Human Life has dignity - Simple enough, but think of the ramifications. This isn't just a "Catholic" principle. It is a human one. It comes from the natural law. If we share a nature, we share the same rights which correspond to that nature. Hence, the right to life and the dignity of human life are shared. We must fight for those who cannot speak for themselves - the sick, the elderly, the children, the handicapped, etc. No life is without worth.
Principle #2 - Preferential Option For the Poor - The Church teaches, as did Jesus, that our love of God is reflected in how we treat the least amongst us. The poor are not to be forgotten in this debate. We should be the keepers of our brothers and sisters.
Principle #3 - Conscience Protections Are Non-negotiable - There are many forces out there which would want Christians to compromise their consciences and force them to practice medicine in violation of their conscience. This cannot happen. We cannot negotiate in this area.
Principle #4 - The Federal Government Should Be the LAST Option - Why should they be the last option? Because of subsidiarity, which is the social justice principle that every issue should be handled by the lowest-level or least centrally-organized group when possible. Thus, the federal government should be the safety net, not the primary operator.
Principle #5 - Basic Health Care is a Right, but Not all Health Care is "Basic" and the right is political, not human - This is where many disagree - what compromises "basic" health care? To answer this, it is easier for me to define what is NOT (e.g. abortion, sex-change surgery, sterilizations, elective cosmetic plastic surgery, etc.) For the right being political, not human, read Bishop Nickless' column on this subject.
Pray for our country during this debate. Pray for our leaders.