WASHINGTON—On October 13, President Trump signed an Executive Order on health care, and news about the Administration ending subsidies to insurers to help lower-income individuals was confirmed by Administration officials around the same time. In light of these developments, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called for the Administration and Congress to protect low income people, as well as enact comprehensive reform for the sake of the most vulnerable.
Bishop Dewane's full statement follows:
"President Trump signed an executive order yesterday intended to allow the sale of health insurance across state lines, and expanding certain insurance options and arrangements. The USCCB will closely monitor the implementation and impacts of this executive order by the relevant administrative agencies.
In general, robust options for people to obtain health coverage, as well as flexibility and approaches aimed at increased affordability, are important strategies in health care. However, in implementing this executive order, great care must be taken to avoid risk of additional harm to those who now receive health care coverage through exchanges formed under the Affordable Care Act.
Administration officials also confirmed that subsidies to insurers designed to help low income individuals afford insurance would be ending. This is of grave concern. The Affordable Care Act is, by no means, perfect, but as leaders attempt to address impending challenges to insurance market stability and affordability, they must not use people's health care as leverage or as a bargaining chip. To do so would be to strike at the heart of human dignity and the fundamental right to health care. The poor and vulnerable will bear the brunt of such an approach.
Ultimately, this Executive Order ignores many more significant problems in the nation's health care system. Congress must still act on comprehensive reform in order to provide a sustainable framework for health care, providing lasting solutions for the life, conscience, immigrant access, market stability, and underlying affordability problems that remain unaddressed."
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, President Donald Trump, Executive Order, Health Care, Congress, health insurance, Affordable Care Act, subsidies, insurance access, lasting solutions.
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