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

et or higher insurance rates."

The bishops urged removal of the five-year ban on legal immigrants accessing federal health benefit programs, such as Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and Medicare, which was proposed by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). His proposal, "which would give states the option to remove this ban, should be included in the bill."

The bishops said they want health insurance to be affordable and said that while the Senate bill "makes great progress in covering people in our nation," it "would still leave over 23 million people in our nation without health insurance. This falls far short of what is needed in both policy and moral dimensions."

The bishops urged Congress and the Administration to "fashion health care reform legislation that truly protects the life, dignity, health and consciences of all."

Right now, they said, "in all the areas of our moral concern, the Senate health care reform bill is deficient. On the issue of respect for unborn human life, the bill not only falls short of the House's standard but violates longstanding precedent in all other federal health programs. Therefore we believe the Senate should not move this bill forward at this time but continue to discuss and approve changes that could make it morally acceptable. Until these fundamental flaws are remedied the bill should be opposed."

"Regardless of the outcome in the Senate, we will work vigorously to incorporate into the final legislation our priorities for upholding conscience rights and longstanding current prohibitions on abortion funding; ensuring affordability and access; and including immigrants," they added. "We hope and pray that the Congress and the country will come together around genuine reform."

SOURCE U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops


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SOURCE U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
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