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US bishops: Address ‘serious moral problems’ in health-care law

Catholic World News - January 19, 2011

“Rather than joining efforts to support or oppose the repeal of the recently enacted health care law,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will “continue to devote our efforts to correcting serious moral problems in the current law, so health care reform can truly be life-affirming for all,” three leading prelates said in a January 18 letter to members of the House of Representatives.

“Throughout the last Congress the Catholic bishops of the United States affirmed our strong support for universal access to health care,” wrote Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, and Coadjutor Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles. “Basic health care for all is a moral imperative, not yet completely achieved. It has never been, and is not now, for the bishops to decide the best means to realize that essential goal. However, regardless of which means are chosen, they must fall within certain fundamental moral parameters, which the bishops have a duty to articulate strongly and clearly.”

The three bishops chair the USCCB committees on pro-life activities, domestic justice and human development, and migration.

The bishops called upon Congress to “maintain longstanding federal policies on abortion in the areas of federal funding and conscience rights” and to ensure that Americans will be able to “provide and purchase health coverage that is consistent with their faith and values.”

“We will seek ways to ensure a more just health care system for immigrant families,” the bishops added as they urged Congress to “protect the access to health care that immigrants currently have and remove current barriers to access.”

They concluded with a quotation from Pope Benedict, who wrote in November that “it is important to establish a real distributive justice which, on the basis of objective needs, guarantees adequate care to all” and that “if it is not to become inhuman, the world of health care cannot disregard the moral rules that must govern it.”

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