Catholic Medical Association says flaws in health care bills require new beginning

.- The Catholic Medical Association has called for the legislative process on health care reform to “begin anew,” citing “substantial flaws” in existing proposals. The group especially called for protections for the right to life. Writing in a Feb. 23 open letter, the Catholic Medical Association (CMA) called on Congress and President Obama to respect “fundamental human and constitutional rights” in health care legislation.

“[T]here is no right more basic than the right to life, and no right more central to American constitutional order than the right to freedom of conscience and religion,” the CMA wrote. “Legislation must not compel any public funding of, or provider participation in, abortion.

“Moreover, the rights to conscience and religious liberty of health-care providers must be more comprehensively protected as the power of governmental regulation grows.”

The Association said that the House and Senate bills will increase health care costs and total federal health care spending, reporting “near unanimity” of opinion among analysts that the current legislation would do “little or nothing” to improve quality.

The health care legislation should be truly “bipartisan” and should ensure that efforts to assist the poor and uninsured are “effective and economically sustainable.” The CMA cited reports that Medicaid enrollees already face unacceptable access problems which would be exacerbated by the provisions of health care bill H.R. 3962.

Additionally, the CMA advised, the physician-patient relationship should also be respected. It warned of “excessive levels” of government regulation in both the House and Senate Bills that would be detrimental to effective medical practice.

Citing polling shows that a slight majority of Americans oppose the present health care legislation, the CMA expressed its belief that Americans will rally behind “sound legislation.”

“We face real challenges, and the status quo is not acceptable,” the letter concluded. “However, we can make progress only if we respond responsibly to the current impasse and move forward in a constructive manner. We ask all of you to engage in a good-faith effort that respects the principles and the process required for authentic health-care reform. We look forward to the opportunity to contribute to this effort.”

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