Important Statements on Health Care Reform

I would like to draw your attention to what I believe are powerful recent statements on the debate over health care reform legislation, in case you may have missed them.

Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles wrote an op-ed article published in the New York Times that focuses on “the lack of adequate health care for immigrants who live in our midst but who do not yet have legal standing.”  The full text is here.

Also, The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a combined statement on the Senate Vote to table the Nelson-Hatch-Casey Amendment.  The statement was from the President of the Conference, Cardinal Francis George, and three committee chairmen: Cardinal Daniel DiNardo (Pro-Life Activities), Bishop William Murphy (Domestic Justice and Human Development), and Bishop John Wester (Migration).  Their statements are on the USCCB website, and can be found here.

Tags: , , ,

30 Responses to “Important Statements on Health Care Reform”

  1. Irene Baldwin says:

    I’m so proud that my Church is speaking out strongly for expanding health care reform to also cover undocumented immigrants. I think it is a very unpopular position to take, but it is the moral one, and very courageous of the Church to do so. My daughter is in fourth grade in catholic school in the Bronx; she is just now learning about corporal works of mercy, including our obligation to visit the sick. It’s so nice to see our faith in action here!

  2. Carol T. Bronnenkant says:

    I agree that there are serious concerns with the Senate bill. I am especially concerned about the care of the most vulnerable in our society, especially the unborn, elderly, disabled, and those with chronic conditions. Just yesterday I heard on TV and read in an Associated Press article that due to a “loophole” in the Senate bill, insurers could put a yearly “cap” on medical care for people with diseases like cancer, etc. From my understanding of the article, the determination of what would be allowable would be determined by government officials.

    Sadly, many people I spoke with had not even heard this information. Thank you for helping to raise awareness about some of the important issues surrounding this legislation. I hope you will continue to provide information on how we can take a more active role in shaping health care reform that respects the values we share.

  3. One doesn’t even have to care about works of mercy to see the need for some type of coverage for our undocumented immigrants: How about simple public health and self-preservation? We live alongside our brothers and sisters and share the risk and the cost of untreated conditions such as drug-resistant TB, HIV/AIDS, and other infections; we bear the astronomical cost of their receiving care of last resort in the emergency room, with no prevention or follow-up. Sadly, it has become some sort of badge of honor to scream “no health care for illegals!”, as if that would make these millions of hard-working people vanish from within our borders and the problem simply go away…

  4. Paul Cooper says:

    Great post, thanks. I signed to your blog rss feed.

  5. Mary says:

    Health care reform, it is passes, will be the greatest victory of the Culture of Death in America since Roe v. Wade. A cleverly packaged lie, it pretends to be about mercy, kindness and fairness, while in reality, it is a package of far Left, progressive ideas about the perfect society — that moves the power over our own bodies (temples of the Holy Ghost?) into the hands of Godless bureaucrats. It poses ethical and moral dilemmas to faith and family. It will be the final assault on our Catholic belief about the value and dignity of human life. Bishops, priests and laypeople — all of us — should wake up to the deceit. Don’t be hoodwinked by what looks like a compassionate, just policy. Eventually we will all be complicit in sending the unborn of our poorest immigrants into the abortion woodchipper. That’s what the Culture of Death is all about.

  6. Irene Baldwin says:

    Mary, the US Catholic Bishops support health care reform, and I don’t think they would really be supporting a “Culture of Death” . Did you read the statements Archbishop Dolan linked to above? I think it really is an honest effort to provide affordable health care for everyone, especially the underserved.

  7. Mary says:

    Irene, Of course our bishops (or Catholics for that matter) would not deliberately support a “reform” that moves the “Culture of Death” forward. However, many Catholics, including bishops and their staffs, have been hoodwinked for forty years, by political lies, wonderful lies actually, that make us all feel so hopeful that we will see reform and justice and freedom from social evils especially for the poor in our time. So here comes government run healthcare plan and it looks like the 40 year dream is at hand. Secure the abortion and conscience provisions, and the bishops can support it.

    Problem is there are 2000 remaining pages of devilish detail – and here’s where the “Culture of Death” will be legislated into every facet of our lives from birth to death. The dignity of each human life, the quality of care we have known, our freedom to choose and decide with our doctors what kind of care we want, protections for those who are seriously or chronically ill, care for the elderly or those close to death – cost efficiencies trumping our lives as well as our neighbors and family. There is something slick and terribly clever going on in here. I find it the ultimate irony that we are being promised the critical vote on Christmas Eve.

  8. KathyM says:

    Mary, your statements are accurate. I pray every day that Our Lady of America will save us from this evil.

  9. Mary says:

    Update on Saturday evening, Dec. 18.
    Senator Nelson caved.
    Smoke and mirrors out of Washington DC

    Here is an analysis from the American Life League

    Analysis: How Nelson-Reid Compromise Allows Abortion Funding in Health Care
    Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life groups have spent most of Saturday morning furiously analyzing the Nelson-Reid compromise language on abortion funding in the Senate health care bill. Their conclusion is that the language undermines the amendments they wanted to ban abortion funding.

    The compromise language appears in the manager’s amendment Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is offering to shore up the 60 votes he needs to overcome the filibuster against the pro-abortion health care bill.

    The language is not similar to the Stupak and Nelson amendments approved by the House and defeated in the Senate.

    Instead, Section 38 adds a provision allowing states to opt out of providing abortion coverage through the exchange and adds further layers of accounting requirements that pro-life groups are calling gimmicks to hide abortion funding.

    The result remains the same and, contrary to longstanding policy, the federal government will subsidize private health insurance plans that cover abortion.

    The manager’s amendment also strikes the public option and replaces it with a program similar to the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) run by the Office of Personnel Management. However, unlike the FEHBP, the Director of OPM will contract with health insurance companies to provide insurance that includes abortion.

    The National Right to Life Committee informed LifeNews.com it strongly opposes the abortion language and complained that “Reid intends to press for Senate approval of the language during the days immediately ahead, without allowing an opportunity for any revisions to be considered.”

    “The manager’s amendment is light years removed from the Stupak-Pitts Amendment that was approved by the House of Representatives on November 8 by a bipartisan vote of 240-194,” NRLC legislative director Douglas Johnson told LifeNews.com. “The new abortion language solves none of the fundamental abortion-related problems with the Senate bill, and it actually creates some new abortion-related problems.” Full story at LifeNews.com

    Is this the line in the sand? Is it time to re-read the Manhattan Declaration?

  10. Cathy says:

    While we can voice public complaint about healthcare reform, send postcards opposing FOCA and pray much for the dignity of human life, we can’t seem to keep pro-abortion and “Catholic” out of our government. As our good Bishops ask these things of us, pray be mindful that we are given the opportunity to redirect the career paths of these government officials only every 2-6 years. The Bishops have their God given authority always. I beg the Bishops, please restore our Catholic identity and publically excommunicate these ill-willed misrepresentors of our Catholic faith. Pray that all be mindful that we have Feast Days in the Church, and rightly so. We don’t have “cafeteria” days, because we don’t belong to a cafeteria of beliefs from which we can pick and choose.

    Thanks and God bless you!

  11. Irene Baldwin says:

    Reuters (12/19) http://www.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE5BI21720091219

    Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has proposed several changes to sweeping U.S. healthcare reform legislation being debated in the Senate. The proposed amendment has to be approved by the Senate.

    Abortion: The abortion provision that aimed to ensure public money would not be used to pay for elective abortion services would be changed with more restrictive language that strengthens the firewall against the use of public money for abortion services.

    The other proposed changes can be found at the Reuters link.

  12. Irene Baldwin says:

    On the fairness to immigrants issue, does anyone know where this legislation is coming down? I think the two big issues were to allow undocumented Americans to purchase insurance (with their own money) through the exchanges and to allow a waiver of the waiting period for legal immigrants to receive Medicaid. Does anyone know what’s happening with that?

  13. Mary says:

    National Right To Life Committee Inc. (December 20, 2009) http://www.nrlc.org/ahc/NRLCManagersAmendScoreLetter.pdf

    Irene,

    You’d have to be a lawyer (which I’m not) to follow and appreciate the legislative content, context and language. Right now this is the only analysis I could find. Since this healthcare train is going 100 miles an hour toward, God help us, Christmas Eve, this is the best I could do at the moment. NRLC says:

    The new abortion language solves none of the fundamental abortion-related problems with the underlying Senate bill, and it actually creates some new abortion-related problems.

    and….

    The so-called “firewall” between federal funds and private funds is merely a bookkeeping gimmick, inconsistent with the long-established principles that govern existing federal health programs, such as the Hyde Amendment.

    and….

    It should also be noted that the “conscience” protection provision for health care providers (sometimes referred to as “the Weldon language”), which was included in the House-passed health bill (H.R. 3962, Section 259), is not included in the amendment, despite some speculation in various published sources in recent days that it would be.

    and finally, let’s throw the Indians under the abortion bus….

    … the amendment inserts into the bill, by reference, the entire text of the Indian Health reauthorization bill (S. 1790). This language is objectionable because it does not contain an amendment (the Vitter Amendment) that was adopted by the Senate on February 26, 2008, by a vote of 52-42, during the Senate’s most recent consideration of Indian health reauthorization legislation. The Vitter Amendment would
    permanently prohibit coverage of elective abortions in federally funded Indian health programs.

  14. Irene Baldwin says:

    Mary- The US Catholic Conference doesn’t seem very happy with the Senate version either. From their website: ” Cardinal DiNardo had written to the Senate on December 14, saying that “the Catholic bishops of the United States strongly support authentic reform of our ailing health care system.” His letter cited “three moral criteria for reform: respect for life and conscience; affordability for the poor; and access to much-needed basic health care for immigrants,” noting that so far the Senate bill “has fallen short of the example set by the House version of this legislation in each of these areas.”

    Maybe it will get closer to the House version when it goes to the Senate/House conference committee. We can always hope.

    ,

  15. Mary says:

    Irene, the Democrats are known as the Party of Death for a reason. They own the House under Catholic leadership. They worship their golden president. This is a stiff-necked bunch. I think it’s time that the bishops call us to prayer and repentance for what our country is about to do on Christmas Eve, the night of our Divine King’s birth.

  16. Irene Baldwin says:

    I’m seeing an odd mix of reaction to this bill. Both National Right to Life AND NARAL oppose the legislation. Go figure. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops is not happy with the legislation, but a coalition made up of some very well-know pro-life Christians, including some very prominent Catholics- including theologians- do support the bill.

    http://blog.faithinpubliclife.org/Christian%20Leaders%20Statement%20on%20Casey%20Language.pdf

    All very confusing.

  17. Mary says:

    Irene,
    Doug Kmiec is not pro-life — he led catholic support for Obama and was rewarded with an ambassadorship to Malta though it’s thought he really wanted the Vatican post. Frankly, Protestant Christians and most Jesuits do not shepherd me on life issues. NARAL wants tax-payer funded abortion available , free, any time, any place, any reason. They own human sacrifice.

  18. KathyM says:

    Irene,
    You have to know the “cast of characters” and the stand each one takes, before you can lend credence to what they state at any given moment.

    Regarding Doug Kmiec, I offer the following article: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/sep/09093007.html

    Here’s a quote from the article that is very germane to this discussion:

    “Nowhere in the Catholic Catechism are the faithful called to outsource the care of the sick and elderly to the state–especially a state that is currently run by an administration filled with people who think it’s time to debate whether or not the elderly and disabled, not to mention unborn children, have a right to the lives they already possess.”

    “Further, nowhere in the Catechism does it say that the government itself is responsible for providing a ‘family wage’. To make the highly specious claim without any reference to the principle of subsidiarity (essentially the idea that the lowest possible stratum of society should address specific social concerns whenever possible) makes one wonder if Ambassador Kmiec is as familiar with Catholic Social Teaching as he claims to be.”

    At this point, I offer the observation that the longest running war in which the US has ever been involved is the War on Poverty. People will protest Afghanistan, but not the generational poverty that welfare has instituted. When the government is in charge of social programs, poverty and its attendant social ills are perpetuated. It’s a case of good intentions gone wrong whenever people look to the government to act as savior, which is the situation with healthcare reform.

    This is a bad bill, and the final aim is to socialize healthcare. There *will* be rationing, and there *will* be taxpayer abortions – always look to the source for a sneak peak into the results that will be endured by the people.

    As it stands now, the abortion language is that individual states, except for the ones that have been ordered by their courts to pay for abortion, can opt out of payment for abortions. Can you imagine the fighting that will go on in New York State?

    As Catholics, we can’t compromise on abortion, not even for the sake of another perceived social good. The right to life trumps all other considerations – it is the preeminent gift and right that has been bestowed upon each of us by our Creator, and the one we must defend first and foremost.

  19. KathyM says:

    Correct that to “taxpayer funded abortions.”

  20. Mary says:

    “Healthcare reform” will lead our country, our once God-graced, beautiful country, and its people into sinfulness of unprecedented proportions — light years beyond Roe v. Wade. This is a Christmas Eve gift to Lucifer. We can only plead God’s forgiveness for what we are about to do.

  21. BronxGuy says:

    Ladies- I think your rhetoric is getting a little extreme. Almost all mainstream news sources consider the Senate bill a moderate one which extends health care to millions of uninsured Americans. There are many safeguards to address your concerns that taxpayer money not be used to support abortion. In addition to the 40 pro-life Christians who support the bill (as someone else already pointed out), a blog on National Catholic Reporter also claims that this bill protects conscience concerns. The writer further suggests that any claims that this bill funds abortion are simply false and are being used as a tactic by organized interest groups who just don’t want government-subsidized health care.
    http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/update-abortion-health-care.

    Have a blessed Christmas!

  22. KathyM says:

    BronxGuy, if you think we ladies are engaging in extreme rhetoric, you haven’t spent much time on the internet! LOL!

    Michael Sean Winters, the blogger on the “National Catholic Reporter,” is in error when he states: “The health care bill that passed the Senate in the wee hours of the morning is much, much better on the issue of abortion funding than the original bill it amended.” The “health care bill” did not pass – that vote is scheduled for Christmas Eve. What passed with this particular vote was the limiting of debate to 60 hours. Where else may he be inaccurate? Perhaps when he says:

    “Every month, when writing that separate check, the individual will be reminded that abortion is not like the rest of their health plan, that this extra check is needed because of that difference, and that this extra check is, in its way, a testimony to the nation’s refusal to use tax dollars to pay for abortions?”

    Is he (and others) projecting a thought process, and a particular attitude, onto a woman who may be sincerely ignorant of what abortion is, or emotionally unattached to the concept of foetus as taught by Planned Parenthood since the Roe v, Wade decision?

    Mr. Winters *does* do a good job at marginalizing the “far right”:

    “Look for similar objections from the far right in the days ahead. They are getting desperate. They see that the President and the Congress are about to achieve health care reform. They will do and say almost anything to keep that from happening.”

    This statement makes me question his personal interest in the passage of the bill, that he would go to such lengths to castigate fellow pro-lifers. The defection of Senator Nelson illustrates not only that Harry Reid has the necessary votes to pass the bill, but also indicates the very limited power of the people to have an impact upon how those votes are cast. It strikes me that the rhetoric of Mr. Winters is rather extreme, in this instance.

    Regarding your reference to “the 40 pro-life Christians who support the bill,” I don’t see any of them as being a great enough moral authority as to make me drop everything and follow him/her without question. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, certainly, had he signed. Certainly *not* Doug Kmiec, whose background was discussed previously.

    “Almost all mainstream news sources consider the Senate bill a moderate one which extends health care to millions of uninsured Americans.”

    How do you know it “extends health care to millions of uninsured Americans?” How do the mainstream media know? The bill is 3000 pages that no one, including the Senate, has seen. It is not on the internet like the House bill was.

    I could extend my response in book form, but I will limit myself by addressing your statement with a quotation from “Humanae Vitae”:

    “18. It is to be anticipated that perhaps not everyone will easily accept this particular teaching. There is too much clamorous outcry against the voice of the Church, and this is intensified by modern means of communication. But it comes as no surprise to the Church that she, no less than her divine Founder, is destined to be a “sign of contradiction.” (22) She does not, because of this, evade the duty imposed on her of proclaiming humbly but firmly the entire moral law, both natural and evangelical.”

    “Since the Church did not make either of these laws, she cannot be their arbiter—only their guardian and interpreter. It could never be right for her to declare lawful what is in fact unlawful, since that, by its very nature, is always opposed to the true good of man.”

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html

    It seems to me that the mainstream media, along with Mr. Winters, have a difficulty in dealing with the “sign of contradiction,” and the individuals who continue from age to age to comprise it.

    A blessed Christmas to you, as well. :-)

  23. Mary says:

    I didn’t realize that mainstream news sources AND oh dear, how could I have missed it — National Catholic Reporter — have no problems with the Senate bill’s abortion and conscience language. What a extreme fool I’ve been. And now I’m awake to my hysteria, let me apologize. I did not check what the New York Times thinks either!!

  24. KathyM says:

    Mary, didn’t you know that the “National Catholic Reporter” is the new Magisterium? Better get back in the loop, girl! :-)

  25. KathyM says:

    “I did not check what the New York Times thinks either!!”

    Me either! Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maximus culpa!

    Too bad that the Church does not give absolution over the internet! :-)

  26. Mary says:

    This discussion has turned into such a horrible reminder of how ruptured our Church is and, I might add, our country. Everybody keep your copies of the Manhattan Declaration on top of the pile. We’re in for a bumpy ride.

  27. KathyM says:

    Being a canary in a coal mine is such a thankless job, since there are so many who will not listen.

    These things I know: evil is real, these are very serious times, and the answer to our every problem is the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of America.

    Each diocese in this country should blanket every one of its parishes with information regarding our Dearest Patroness, and this special title she has given us in America as a gift from her Motherly Heart.

    If I sound like a broken record in her service, so be it. I believe she has special ties with the NY Archdiocese, her statue having traveled to St. Patrick’s Cathedral (and Ground Zero) where I first saw it. She will save America if we only take the first step towards her. She will take us into her Heart, and accomplish the rest, if only we would respond to her sweetness with trust!

  28. TJM says:

    What’s truly sad is that the US Bishops are clueless on healthcare reform. But I do have a suggestion for them. Why not offer your employees tip-top healthcare, pay for it out of your coffers before preaching to everyone else. Look, healthcare reform is not about healthcare at all. It’s about power and control – something the Dems are masters of. If they were really concerned about access to healthcare and affordability they would pass tort reform (can’t lawyers are the Dems biggest supporters after unions), eliminate individual state insurance regulations and permit people to buy insurance across states lines (can’t do that, those folks in San Francisco are ENTITLED to sex change operations), and make everyone make co=payments when they receive healthcare (can’t do that, that would force people to think before they act). What I suggested would dramatically reduce healthcare costs but it won’t happen because there’s no role for government bureacrats, Congress, unions, and lawyers. Now continue posting your fantasies.

    ps: providing immigrants with healthcare will just get us more immigrants at a time we can’t fully employ our own citizens. Again, bishops pontificating about stuff they’re clueless about.

  29. Great, now the economy and health reform are dead. Congratulations America!