U.S. Bishops Chairman Calls Senate to “Reject Changes” to Social Safety Net

June 27, 2017 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida,Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and HumanDevelopment, has provided a more detailed critique of the Senate "discussiondraft" health care bill, dubbed the "Better Care Reconciliation Act"(BCRA).

"Removing vital coverage for those most in need is notthe answer to our nation's health care problems, and doing so will not help usbuild toward the common good," said Bishop Dewane. "For the sake of persons living on themargins of our health care system, we call on the Senate to reject changesintended to fundamentally alter the social safety net for millions of people."

The BCRA was introduced in discussion draft format onJune 22, 2017, and is the Senate's working heath care proposal. Bishop Dewane again highlighted the need forlawmakers to withhold support for provisions that would harm poor andvulnerable people, including changes to Medicaid, in the June 27 letter. He also stressed the need for protections forthe unborn in the bill, indicating that "[s]afeguards pertaining to the use oftax credits for plans that include abortion face steep challenges," and that theBCRA "needs to be strengthened to fully apply the longstanding andwidely-supported Hyde amendment protections." Bishop Dewane also noted that coverage for immigrants and conscienceprotections were lacking in the BCRA.

"The BCRA's restructuring of Medicaid will adverselyimpact those already in deep health poverty," warned Bishop Dewane. "At a timewhen tax cuts that would seem to benefit the wealthy and increases in otherareas of federal spending, such as defense, are being contemplated, placing a'per capita cap' on medical coverage for the poor is unconscionable."

The full letter can be found at: https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/upload/senate-discussion-letter-health-care-reform-2017-06-27.pdf

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of CatholicBishops, USCCB, Better Care Reconciliation Act, BCRA, Bishop Frank J. Dewane,Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Affordable Care Act, respectfor life, human dignity, health care, affordability, abortion, poverty,immigration, conscience.

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Media Contact: Judy Keane 202-541-3200