Monday, March 15, 2010

Catholic Health Association breaks with bishops, backs Senate health care bill

Breaking with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the president of the Catholic Health Association has endorsed the Senate health care reform legislation that is scheduled to be voted on by the House of Representatives this week.

“As I watched our president present his plan to pass the health reform legislation, it was clear this is an historic opportunity to make great improvements in the lives of so many Americans,” writes Sister Carol Keehan. “Is it perfect? No. Does it cover everyone? No. But is it a major first step? Yes.”

“The insurance reforms will make the lives of millions more secure, and their coverage more affordable,” she continues. “The reforms will eventually make affordable health insurance available to 31 million of the 47 million Americans currently without coverage.”

“CHA has a major concern on life issues,” she adds. 
We said there could not be any federal funding for abortions and there had to be strong funding for maternity care, especially for vulnerable women. The bill now being considered allows people buying insurance through an exchange to use federal dollars in the form of tax credits and their own dollars to buy a policy that covers their health care. If they choose a policy with abortion coverage, then they must write a separate personal check for the cost of that coverage.

There is a requirement that the insurance companies be audited annually to assure that the payment for abortion coverage fully covers the administrative and clinical costs, that the payment is held in a separate account from other premiums, and that there are no federal dollars used.


  1. There is many many problems with a stance like the one CHA has accepted.

    1. This doesn't deal at all with the direct funding of community health clinics that could and would likely use this money for abortions.

    2. This says nothing of conscience protections which are still very weak in the Senate bill.

    3.What about the person whose best plan for their needs is also one of the plans that covers abortion? In order to get that plan a person would be required to cut a separate check specifically to fund abortion.

    4.How do we know the government does not consider premiums paid towards abortion coverage is not considered in the affordability equation? I don't know the specifics of this but I have serious doubts that hard core abortion fanatics like Nancy Pelosi properly seperated out these items.

    5. I think the most telling thing is what the Stupak amendmant says and why it was barred from this. If the Stupak amendment were truly a do nothing amendment than it is abosolute insanity for Nancy Pelosi to not include it, however if it truly does something than is that worth fighting for? Banning all public monies levied by this legislation to fund abortion?

    While I agree with the CHA that we need health care reform, but at what expense? Is funding abortion, even one single abortion a line that Catholics cannot cross? Is this really the best health care bill that we can come up with? I mean seriously....millions of people are not covered, we are funding abortion, cutting medicare, and arguably doing nothing to reduce cost? There has got to be something better worth fighting for.

  2. Not to mention a bill lined with special packages and kickbacks for certain states/districts. Surely some of these will be removed like the Cornhusker kickback, but if this was the foundation for passing this legislation, and it is 3000-4000 pages then what else is in it that we don't know about yet?

  3. I have been trying to find the right word to describe Sister Carol Keehan. The only one that comes to mind is disappointment. It is very disappointing to see Sister Carol support a bill that our Bishops have been so opposed to. This bill funds abortion. They have numerous accounting gimmicks in place to make it harder to track but in the end money that you and I send to Washington will be used to fund abortions. Throughout this entire process Sister Carol has done a poor job of stating the teachings of the Church that any bill a Catholic can support must adhere to. She has done a poor job articulating the church’s position on the sanctity of all human life, on the need for strong conscience protection, and the principal of subsidiarity. The few times she was on The World Over, Raymond had to struggle to get her to state any kind of opposition to abortion funding. I hate to say it but I think Sister saw a chance to grab more federal dollars for the Catholic hospitals and is willing to get those dollars even if it means compromising on what should be uncompromisable positions.