Dated March 11th, the following statement repeats the US Bishops’ grave concerns over unjust provisions contained in current health care reform legislation. The proper response of the Catholic faithful to this legislation, the bishops urge, is rigorous opposition.
USCCB NATIONWIDE BULLETIN INSERT/ACTION ALERT
Stop Abortion Funding in Health Care Reform!
Ensure Affordable Health Coverage
Allow Immigrants to Purchase Private Health Insurance
As long-time advocates of health care reform, the U.S. Catholic bishops continue to make the moral case that genuine health care reform must protect the life, dignity, consciences and health of all, especially the poor and vulnerable. Health care reform should provide access to affordable and quality health care for all, and not advance a pro-abortion agenda in our country. Genuine health care reform is being blocked by those who insist on reversing widely supported policies against federal funding of abortion and plans which include abortion, not by those working simply to preserve these longstanding protections.
• On November 7, the U.S. House of Representatives passed major health care reform that reaffirms the essential, longstanding and widely supported policy against using federal funds for elective abortions and includes positive measures on affordability and immigrants.
• On December 24, the U.S. Senate rejected this policy and passed health care reform that requires federal funds to help subsidize and promote health plans that cover elective abortions. All purchasers of such plans will be required to pay for other people’s abortions through a separate payment solely to pay for abortion. And the affordability credits for very low income families purchasing private plans in a Health Insurance Exchange are inadequate and would leave families financially vulnerable.
• Outside the abortion context, neither bill has adequate conscience protection for health care providers, plans or employers.
• Congressional leaders are now trying to figure out how the rules of the House and Senate could allow the final passage of a modified bill that would satisfy disagreements between House and Senate versions.
ACTION: Contact your Representative and Senators today by e-mail, phone or FAX.
• To send a pre-written, instant e-mail to Congress go to www.usccb.org/action.
• Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Members’ local offices.
MESSAGE – HOUSE: “I am pleased that the House health care bill maintains the longstanding policy against federal funding of abortion. On the other hand, the provisions on abortion funding in the current un-amended Senate health care bill are seriously deficient and unacceptable. I urge you to work to uphold essential provisions against abortion funding, to include full conscience protection and to ensure that health care is accessible and affordable for all. I urge you to oppose any bill unless and until these criteria are met.”
MESSAGE – SENATE: “I am deeply disappointed that the current un-amended Senate health care bill fails to maintain the longstanding policy against federal funding of abortion and does not include adequate protection for conscience. I urge you to support essential provisions against abortion funding, similar to those in the House bill. Include full conscience protection and ensure that health care is accessible and affordable for all. I urge you to oppose any bill unless and until these criteria are met.”
WHEN: Votes in the House and Senate are expected at any time. Act today! Thank You!
UPDATE (3/16): Yesterday, Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago and President of the USCCB, issued the following statement clarifying the bishops’ concerns regarding the health reform legislation now moving through Congress. The cardinal’s statement addresses directly certain misconceptions created by the Catholic Health Association’s ill-advised endorsement of the legislation.
THE COST IS TOO HIGH; THE LOSS IS TOO GREAT
Statement by Cardinal Francis George, OMI
The Catholic Bishops of the United States have long and consistently advocated for the reform of the American health care system. Their experience in health care and in Catholic parishes has acquainted them with the anguish of mothers who are unable to afford prenatal care, of families unable to ensure quality care for their children, and of those who cannot obtain insurance because of preexisting conditions.
Throughout the discussion on health care over the last year, the bishops have advocated a bipartisan approach to solving our national health care needs. They have urged that all who are sick, injured or in need receive necessary and appropriate medical assistance, and that no one be deliberately killed through an expansion of federal funding of abortion itself or of insurance plans that cover abortion. These are the provisions of the long standing Hyde amendment, passed annually in every federal bill appropriating funds for health care; and surveys show that this legislation reflects the will of the majority of our fellow citizens. The American people and the Catholic bishops have been promised that, in any final bill, no federal funds would be used for abortion and that the legal status quo would be respected.