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USCCB: praise, criticism for GOP healthcare proposal

March 22, 2017

The chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development said in a letter to members of the House of Representatives that portions of the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) are “commendable, while others present grave challenges that must be addressed before passage.”

Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida, praised the bill for “restricting funding which flows to providers that promote abortion and prohibiting federal funding for abortion or the purchase of plans that provide abortion.”

He criticized the plan on several grounds, including its Medicaid-related provisions and lack of conscience-protection measures:

The AHCA includes changes which place many people at significant risk. The legislation must be modified to correct these serious flaws. The recent CBO report indicates that, under the AHCA, as many as 24 million additional people could be uninsured in the next 10 years for a variety of reasons …

Absent in the AHCA are any changes to afford conscience protection against mandates to provide coverage or services, such as the regulatory interpretation of “preventive services” requiring contraception and sterilization coverage in almost all private health plans nationwide, which has been the subject of large-scale litigation especially involving religious entities like the Little Sisters of the Poor.

 
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