WASHINGTON—Afterthe U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (H.R.1628), Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops'Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called on the Senate to stripout the harmful provisions of the bill when the chamber takes it up forconsideration.
"Even withefforts to improve the bill before passage, the American Health Care Act stillcontains major defects, particularly regarding changes to Medicaid that riskcoverage and affordability for millions; it is deeply disappointing that thevoices of those who will be most severely impacted were not heeded," saidBishop Dewane. "The AHCA does offer critical life protections, and our healthcare system desperately needs these safeguards. But still, vulnerablepeople must not be left in poor and worsening circumstances as Congressattempts to fix the current and impending problems with the Affordable CareAct."
Sincediscussions about repealing the Affordable Care Act began, the U.S. Bishopshave repeatedly called for Congress to honor key moral principles in healthcare reform. Among them are: access for all people to comprehensive, qualityhealth care that is truly affordable, including extra consideration forpre-existing conditions; respect for life by preventing the use of federalfunds for abortion or to purchase health care plans that cover it; andconscience protections. Prior to Thursday's vote, Bishop Dewane urgedHouse members to insist on changes, especially for the sake of those who arestruggling.
"When theSenate takes up the AHCA, it must act decisively to remove the harmfulproposals from the bill that will affect low-income people—includingimmigrants—as well as add vital conscience protections, or begin reform effortsanew. Our health care policy must honor all human life and dignity fromconception to natural death, as well as defend the sincerely-held moral andreligious beliefs of those who have any role in the health care system," said BishopDewane.
Keywords: U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee onDomestic Justice and Human Development, American Health Care Act (AHCA),respect for life, human dignity, health care, affordability, abortion, poverty,immigration.
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