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Senate Committee Addresses Some Issues On Affordability, Fails To Correct Abortion Problems And Immigration Concerns, Say USCCB Officials
Date:10/2/2009

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Officials of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) saw mixed results when the Senate Finance Committee completed voting on amendment to its proposed health care reform bill this week.

In a recent letter to the Senate, the USCCB had called for improvements in the bill to meet the bishops' key criteria for genuine health care reform: protecting life and dignity, affordability, and inclusion of immigrants. For the text of this letter see www.usccb.org/sdwp/national/2009-09-30-healthcare-letter-senate.pdf.

The Committee rejected pro-life amendments offered by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) which the USCCB supported. One amendment would write into this bill the abortion funding policy that has long governed all federal health programs: no federal subsidies for benefits packages that cover abortion, with rare exceptions; insurers could offer supplemental abortion policies if they were funded solely by the private premiums of those choosing to purchase them. Another amendment would forbid federal agencies, and state and local governments receiving federal funds under this bill, to discriminate against health care providers that decline to perform, refer for, or pay for abortions.

"The bill remains deeply flawed on these issues and must be corrected," said Richard Doerflinger, Associate Director of the USCCB's Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities. "It is especially disheartening that the Senate committee would not even support longstanding conscience language on abortion that has already been accepted as part of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's health care reform bill."

The USCCB's recent letter had said that "so far, the health reform bills considered in committee, including the new Senate Finance Committee bill, have not met President Obama's challenge
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SOURCE U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities
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