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Bishops to House: Keep Abortion Funding Out of Health Care Reform, Make Health Care Available to Vulnerable
Date:11/6/2009

edures will be federal outlays. Federal subsidies will also be used to pay the overall costs of establishing and maintaining private health plans that cover elective abortions. Millions of purchasers will be forced to use their premium dollars for abortion coverage they do not want, through a new mandatory fee. The creation of this "abortion surcharge," a mandatory payment requiring pro-life purchasers of many plans to pay directly and explicitly for abortion coverage, is unprecedented in federal law. Such a proposal runs counter to the principles of the longstanding "Hyde amendment." Affirming the Hyde Amendment continues the government's long standing policy without affecting coverage of abortion in non-subsidized health plans, and without barring anyone from purchasing a supplemental abortion policy that is funded solely by the private funds of those who choose it.

Thus far, H.R. 3962 does not meet President Obama's commitment of barring use of federal dollars for abortion and maintaining current conscience laws. While Section 259 of the bill maintains essential nondiscrimination protections for providers who decline involvement in abortion, the legislation also requires each region of the insurance exchange to include at least one health plan with unlimited abortion, contrary to the policy of all other federal health programs; and conscience protection on issues beyond abortion have yet to be included in this bill.

Immigrants in Health Care Coverage

We support the inclusion of all immigrants, regardless of status, in the health-care exchange. Regardless of status, immigrants living in our country need to have access to health care just as any other human being. Finding ways to provide them with health care is preferable to compelling them to have access only to emergency room care which is an unfair burden on hospitals in urban and other high immigrant areas of our country.

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SOURCE U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities
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