WASHINGTON—Asthe U.S. House of Representatives appears poised to vote on the American HealthCare Act (HB 1628), Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of theU.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, stressedthat remaining flaws in the bill will harm poor and vulnerable people and calledon members to insist upon changes.
"It is deeplydisappointing to many Americans that, in modifying the American Health Care Actto again attempt a vote, proponents of the bill left in place its serious flaws,including unacceptable modifications to Medicaid that will endanger coverageand affordability for millions of people, according to reports," said BishopDewane. "Sadly, some of the recentlyproposed amendments—especially those designed to give states flexibility—lackapparent safeguards to ensure quality of care. These additions could severelyimpact many people with pre-existing conditions while risking for others the lossof access to various essential coverages."
In an earlier letter sent to Representatives on March 17, Bishop Dewane had urged members ofthe U.S. House of Representatives to correct provisions that would place a percapita cap on Medicaid funding to states, as well as to ensure adequate,quality coverage for those who are part of the recent Medicaid expansion, amongother things. Bishop Dewane also calledfor conscience protections for those who participate in the delivery orcoverage of health care services and against mandates like the contraceptionand sterilization regulatory requirement from the U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services.
"The AmericanHealth Care Act includes some praiseworthy features, among them restrictingfunding which flows to abortion providers and prohibiting federal funding forabortion or the purchase of plans that cover it," noted Bishop Dewane. "But the AHCA, as it now stands, creates newand grave challenges for poor and vulnerable people, including immigrants. The House must not pass the legislation as itis. Members should insist on changes,especially for the sake of those who are struggling in our communities."
Keywords: U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee onDomestic Justice and Human Development, American Health Care Act (AHCA), respectfor life, human dignity, health care, affordability, abortion, poverty,immigration.
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