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Catholic Health Association breaks with bishops, backs Senate health care bill

Catholic World News - March 15, 2010

Breaking with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the president of the Catholic Health Association has endorsed the Senate health care reform legislation that is scheduled to be voted on by the House of Representatives this week.

“As I watched our president present his plan to pass the health reform legislation, it was clear this is an historic opportunity to make great improvements in the lives of so many Americans,” writes Sister Carol Keehan. “Is it perfect? No. Does it cover everyone? No. But is it a major first step? Yes.”

“The insurance reforms will make the lives of millions more secure, and their coverage more affordable,” she continues. “The reforms will eventually make affordable health insurance available to 31 million of the 47 million Americans currently without coverage.”

“CHA has a major concern on life issues,” she adds.

We said there could not be any federal funding for abortions and there had to be strong funding for maternity care, especially for vulnerable women. The bill now being considered allows people buying insurance through an exchange to use federal dollars in the form of tax credits and their own dollars to buy a policy that covers their health care. If they choose a policy with abortion coverage, then they must write a separate personal check for the cost of that coverage.

There is a requirement that the insurance companies be audited annually to assure that the payment for abortion coverage fully covers the administrative and clinical costs, that the payment is held in a separate account from other premiums, and that there are no federal dollars used.

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  • Posted by: Jester - Mar. 15, 2010 11:05 PM ET USA

    The Catholic Health Association, like the St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon, and in accord with the same basic principle should no longer refer to itself as Catholic. Any Catholic who is a member of this organization and who does not either resign their membership or insist that Catholic be dropped from the name calls into question the authenticity of their own Catholicism.

  • Posted by: frjpharrington3912 - Mar. 15, 2010 11:02 PM ET USA

    Sister Carol and the board of CHA will need to revise their vision statement which aspires to provide quality care for everyone with "special attention to those who are underserved and most vulnerable." The statement, found in the CHA Overview, is prominently displayed below an attractive and heartwarming photo of a "underserved and vulnerable" newly born baby being cared for in the hospital by a compassionate nurse while its loving mother looks on from her bedside. They'll need a new photo too.

  • Posted by: New Sister - Mar. 15, 2010 7:24 PM ET USA

    I'm with Minn Mary -- please, Bishops, for her own sake & for ours, do something.

  • Posted by: annemarie - Mar. 15, 2010 6:36 PM ET USA

    Sister Carol, follow the yellow brick road. When you reach Oz, your kool-aid glass will be refilled.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Mar. 15, 2010 2:01 PM ET USA

    Time to cut CHA loose from the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church! Please, Bishop Vasa, lead the way!

  • Posted by: Hal - Mar. 15, 2010 10:59 AM ET USA

    Au revoir "Catholic" health system.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Mar. 15, 2010 10:53 AM ET USA

    They are following in the footsteps of their cousins to the north - The Canadian Catholic Healthcare Association. All Hail Caesar!

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