In a statement released last Friday, the Catholic Health Association (CHA) clarified that it has not thrown its institutional support behind the current health care bill, while also reiterating its commitment to protect life from conception to natural death.
The Catholic Health Association “has long been committed to a goal of health coverage for all people in the United States. CHA has not, however, endorsed any of the bills currently under consideration,” the statement said.
Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, president and chief executive officer of CHA, said that “our message has always been clear: health care must respect and protect human dignity from conception to natural death. In that spirit, coverage for everyone is a moral imperative and a matter of social justice.”
“To date, CHA has not endorsed any health care reform bill, but our message to lawmakers is unchanged: Health reform should not result in an expansion of abortion, and it must maintain conscience protections for health care providers who do not want to participate in abortions or other morally objectionable procedures,” Sr. Keehan added.
The CHA statement also said that the association is “working closely with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to bring about health reform that respects the life and dignity of every person, from conception to natural death. This means care that respects the unborn, the patient with multiple sclerosis, the person living with cancer, the young mother, the addicted, the mentally ill, the frail elderly, the dying patient.”
Sr. Keehan also explained that CHA’s participation in an agreement with the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Max Baucus, and the White House “did not include any commitments to endorse specific legislation but marked major progress in advancing reform and working together to finance health care in this country.”
“As the reform conversation reaches a pivotal point, our message stays the same: it's time to create the health care system the American people deserve and can be proud of,” CHA’s president said.