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Prelate renews criticism of Senate health care bill

July 04, 2017

The chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development has renewed his criticism of the Senate Republicans’ proposed health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

“At a time when tax cuts that would seem to benefit the wealthy and increases in other areas of federal spending, such as defense, are being contemplated, placing a ‘per capita cap’ on medical coverage for the poor is unconscionable,” Bishop Frank Dewane said in a recent letter to senators.

Bishop Dewane also cited

  • the loss of coverage by 22 million people, according to the forecast of the Congressional Budget Office
  • the proposed “waiting period penalty for those who do not maintain continuous coverage for a short time in the previous year”
  • the expected rise in premiums for some elderly and low-income persons
  • a lack of improvement in immigrants’ access to coverage
  • “no conscience protections are extended by the BCRA for patients, insurers, purchasers, sponsors, and providers”

Commenting on the measure’s abortion-related language, Bishop Dewane said:

The Bishops value language currently in the legislation recognizing that abortion is not health care by attempting to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortion or plans that cover it … Even as is, the bill needs to be strengthened to fully apply the longstanding and widely-supported Hyde amendment protections. Full Hyde protections are essential and must be included in any health care bill.

 
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