What role should government play to ensure access to health care? And just what does it mean to have a “right” to health care?

Dave Durenberger

The next “Hot Topics: Cool Talk” forum at the University of St. Thomas will examine these and related questions in light of Catholic teaching. The forum, free and open to the public, will be held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, in Room 235 of the St. Thomas School of Law on the university’s downtown Minneapolis campus.

Moderator of the forum is Dave Durenberger, a former U.S. Senator who is senior health policy fellow and chair of the National Institute of Health Policy at St. Thomas.

John Carr

The two speakers are John Carr, executive director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Dr. Robert Kennedy, professor and chair of St. Thomas’ Catholic Studies Department.

Carr and Kennedy will address the question: “How can Catholic convictions and experience illuminate the health-care debate?” They will present an overview of Catholic teaching and offer analysis to philosophical questions regarding the rights of citizens and the role of government. 

Dr. Robert Kennedy

The Hot Topics: Cool Talk series is sponsored by St. Thomas’ Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy. This is the fourth event in an eight-part series that provides a forum for dialogue on current political issues in a context divorced from the heat of a political campaign. Each program features two experts respectfully engaging in a civil discourse on a policy issue important to the 2012 election.

A complimentary lunch will be provided to those who register online. For more information about the series, and to register for the Jan. 27 forum, visit the Murphy Institute website. Continuing-legal-education credits will be applied for.

The remaining forums are: Personal Rights and Religious Liberty, Feb. 10; Immigration Policy, March 2; Punishment Theory, April 20; and Responsible Citizenship, May 3.