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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

o support the removal on the five-year ban on legal immigrants accessing federal health benefit programs, such as Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Medicare. Legal immigrants, who work and pay taxes, should have access to such programs, if needed. Removing the ban would help ensure that legal immigrants, who were widely praised in past immigration debates for their many contributions and for playing by the rules, will still have access to health-care.

Accessible and Affordable Health Care

Because we support and advocate in favor of affordable and accessible health care for all, especially the poor and marginalized, we want legislation that expands Medicaid eligibility for adults living at 150 percent or lower of the federal poverty level. This will help lower-income families purchase insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Exchange. Provisions in Title I (Immediate Reforms) should be helpful in providing relief to the uninsured and underinsured. The House legislation provides reforms that will strengthen families and protect low-income and vulnerable people by eliminating denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions including pregnancy; eliminating life time caps; offering long-term disability services; and extending dependant coverage to uninsured young adults.

These are not marginal issues or special interest concerns. They are at the heart of the health care debate. Our concerns outlined in this letter reflect our longstanding commitment to health care and our centuries old experience as providers of health care to all, especially the poor and the vulnerable. In that spirit we reiterate our Catholic tradition that teaches that health care is a basic human right, essential to protecting human life and dignity.

For many months, our Bishops' conference has been working with members of Congress, the Administration and others to f
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SOURCE U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities
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