In general, the common good consists of all the conditions of society and the goods secured by those conditions, which allow individuals to achieve human and spiritual flourishing. The social teaching of the Catholic Church insists that the human community, including its government, must be actively concerned in promoting the health and welfare of every one of its members so that each member can contribute to the common good of all. This teaching is encapsulated in the principle of the common good and its corollary principle of subsidiarity. According to this understanding, the principle of the common good has three essential elements: 1) respect for persons; 2) social welfare; and 3) peace and security. All three of these elements entail the provision of health care in some way as an essential element of the common good (see Ethical and Religious Directives, Part One, Introduction).
In so far as the common good presupposes respect for persons, it obligates public authorities to respect the fundamental human rights of each person. Society should allow each of its members to fulfill his or her vocation. Insofar as it presupposes social welfare, the common good requires that the infrastructure of society is conducive to the social well being and development of its individual members. In this respect, it is the proper function of public authorities to both arbitrate between competing interests and to ensure that individual members of society have access to the basic goods that are necessary for living a truly human life, e.g., food, clothing, health care, meaningful work, education, etc. Finally, this conception of the common good requires the peace and security that accompanies a just social order. Public authority, then, should be used to ensure, by morally acceptable means, the security of society and its individual members. [See: Documents of Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, n. 26; USCC, NCC and Synagogue Council, "The Common Good: Old Idea, New Urgency," Origins 23 (June 24, 1993): 81-6.]