USCCB Still Deeply Concerned with Healthcare Bills

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Bishops Praise Reps for Pro-Life Vote
Not Supporting Any Specific Legislation

WASHINTON, DC, November 10, 2009 -- While the US bishops expressed appreciation to the Representatives that supported the Stupak Amendment blocking federal funding of abortions in the House-passed healthcare bill, they expressed deep concern with other aspects of the legislation. US Catholic Conference of Bishops strongly supports reform that provides affordable universal access to healthcare, however, contrary to some news reports, they are not supporting any specific legislation.

In a statement release on Monday, November 9, Cardinal Francis George, president of the USCCB, said “In the national discussion on how to provide the best kind of health care, we bishops do not claim or present ourselves as experts on health care policy. We are not prepared to assess every provision of legislation as complex as this proposal. However, health care legislation, with all its political, technical and economic aspects, is about human beings and hence has serious moral dimensions.”

Healthcare and the
Common Good

Healthcare legislation must serve the common good. Human rights are always determined by what is common to all and therefore to each person without exception.

It is "common" that everyone without exception gets sick and needs care (a "good") at times in their lives. This is something that we have in common with each and every human person, young, elderly, able, disabled, healthy, infirmed, born, unborn, citizen, non-citizen, employed, unemployed, poor, and wealthy.

This is why healthcare is described as a human right.

The question before us is not whether but how to make healthcare universally affordable and accessible in the most fair way -- if not this year in the near future.

        Catholics for the Common Good

Cardinal George expressed appreciation that “Representatives honored President Obama’s commitment to the Congress and the nation that health care reform would not become a vehicle for expanding abortion funding or mandates.” In the aftermath of the stunning victory due to a massive outpouring of support from pro-life activists, Cardinal George gave assurance that, “The Conference will remain vigilant and involved throughout this entire process to assure that these essential provisions are maintained and included in the final legislation.”

“We remain deeply concerned,” he continued, “about other aspects of health care reform as the debate now moves to the Senate, especially as it affects the poor and vulnerable, and those at the beginning and end of life. We will continue to insist that health care reform legislation must protect conscience rights. We support measures to make health care more affordable for low-income people and the uninsured. We remain deeply concerned that immigrants be treated fairly and not lose the health care coverage that they now have.”

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