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Bishops Call Senate Health Care Reform Bill 'Deficient,' Essential Changes Needed Before Moving Forward
Date:12/22/2009

bortions and plans that include elective abortions" and "ensures that where federal funds are involved, people are not required to pay for other people's abortions." The Senate bill does not maintain this commitment.

In the Senate version, "federal funds will help subsidize, and in some cases a federal agency will facilitate and promote, health plans that cover elective abortions," the bishops said. "All purchasers of such plans will be required to pay for other people's abortions in a very direct and explicit way, through a separate premium payment designed solely to pay for abortion. There is no provision for individuals to opt out of this abortion payment in federally subsidized plans, so people will be required by law to pay for other people's abortions." The public consensus against abortion funding, said the bishops, "is borne out by many opinion surveys, including the new Quinnipiac University survey of December 22 showing 72 percent opposed to public funding of abortion in health care reform legislation."

"This bill also continues to fall short of the House-passed bill in preventing governmental discrimination against health care providers that decline involvement in abortion," the bishops said. And it also "includes no conscience protection allowing Catholic and other institutions to provide and purchase health coverage consistent with their moral and religious convictions on other procedures."

The bishops also called for all immigrants, regardless of status, to be able purchase a health insurance plan with their own money.

"Without such access, many immigrant families would be unable to receive primary care and be compelled to rely on emergency room care," the bishops said. "This would harm not only immigrants and their families, but also the general public health. Moreover, the financial burden on the American public would be higher, as Americans would pay for uncompensated medical care through the federal budg
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SOURCE U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
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