The exchange below should be enough to turn anyone into a Trekkie, or at least a fancaptain kirk of the original Captain Kirk, a.k.a William Shatner. His chat about health care with Rush Limbaugh on a recent show is making the rounds of the Interwebs, such as at the NY Times' economix blog. Here's the best bit:

Shatner: Heres my premise, and you agree with it or not. If you have money, you are going to get health care. If you dont have money, its more difficult.Limbaugh: If you have money youre going to get a house on the beach. If you dont have money, youre going to live in a bungalow somewhere.Shatner: Right, but were talking about health care.Limbaugh: Whats the difference?Shatner: The difference is were talking about health care, not a house or a bungalow.Limbaugh: No. No. Youre assuming that there is some morally superior aspect to health care than there is to a house. Shatner: No, Im not moral at all. I want to keep the subject, for the moment, on the health care thing.

The author of the blog post, Uwe E. Reinhardt, an economics professor at Princeton, has some further elaboration on the point debated above. But while it may be amusing that William Shatner "gets" it and Rush doesn't, I think this does represent a basic difference in outlook on health care. And Captain Kirk, I dare say -- moral or not -- would be much closer to Catholic teaching.

David Gibson is the director of Fordham’s Center on Religion & Culture.

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