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Prelates call for bipartisan health care reform

April 04, 2017

Following the withdrawal of the House Republican leadership’s American Health Care Act (AHCA), three bishops who chair committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called for bipartisan efforts to address shortcomings in former President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act (ACA).

In a letter to members of Congress, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop William Lori, and Bishop Frank Dewane criticized AHCA for “serious deficiencies, particularly in its changes to Medicaid, that would have impacted the poor and others most in need in unacceptable ways, including an estimated 24 million Americans who would be without healthcare.”

At the same time, the bishops praised AHCA for “critical life protections for the unborn,” while noting that “neither the AHCA nor the ACA provided conscience protections for those who participate in the delivery or coverage of health care services.”

The bishops called upon Congress to address “problems and barriers to access and affordability,” to protect the unborn, and to enshrine conscience protection in law. They added:

While a comprehensive approach is preferable, some of the problems can be fixed with more narrow reforms, and in a bipartisan way. Congress can pass the Conscience Protection Act, extend full “Hyde Amendment” protections to the ACA, and enact other targeted laws that begin to remove current and impending health care barriers, if a more extensive effort is not possible. We urge members of Congress to seize this moment to create a new spirit of bipartisanship and make these necessary reforms.

 
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