As Senate health care bill moves, U.S. bishops' officials see flaws going unfixed
Kathy Saile / Richard Doerflinger
Kathy Saile / Richard Doerflinger
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Responding to the Senate Finance Committee’s passage of a proposed health care reform bill, officials with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops say the bishops will have no choice but to oppose the bill. They cite the legislation’s shortfalls in health coverage and its lack of prohibitions on abortion funding.

By a 14-9 vote on Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee approved its version of a health care reform bill. All the committee’s Democrats voted in its favor, as did Sen. Olympia Snow (R-Maine).

A Wednesday press release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) reiterated the bishops’ position that policies against abortion funding and protective of conscience rights must be in the bill.

The bishops also said health care should be affordable and available to the poor and vulnerable, while the needs of legal immigrants and their families should also be met.

Kathy Saile, Director of the USCCB Office of Domestic Social Development, said the USCCB remains hopeful that “problematic provisions” can be worked out.

“But time is running short and if the provisions are not fixed, the bishops have been clear that they will have no choice but to oppose a final bill,” Saile continued. “The stated purpose of pursuing health care reform was to provide those without health care coverage access to quality and affordable health care. There is real doubt that this bill will achieve that goal.”

Richard Doerflinger, Associate Director of the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, said that no current health care bill approved by committee is consistent with “longstanding and widely supported” policies on abortion and conscience rights.

Reporting that some have made “misleading comments” about abortion funding in proposed health care legislation, Doerflinger said that the Senate Finance Committee’s bill and other bills appropriate their own funds and are outside the scope of the Hyde Amendment.

The Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for almost all abortions, applies to the annual funding appropriations for the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Kevin Appleby, USCCB Director of Migration and Refugee Policy, charged that the bill falls “well short” of the goal of significantly reducing the number of uninsured Americans.

“As passed out of the Finance Committee, millions of legal immigrants and their families would be left outside the system, dependent on emergency rooms for their primary care,” he said.

In an October 8 letter, the USCCB pledged to work “tirelessly” to remedy what it saw as the “central problems” of the bill.

To become law, the bill approved by the Senate Finance Committee must now pass the full U.S. Senate and then be reconciled with any version passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea

Liturgical Calendar

December 18, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Jer 23: 5-8
Gospel:: Mt 1: 18-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27