Washington (Agenzia Fides) - In a response that came hours after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called on the Senate to strip out harmful provisions of the bill when the chamber takes it up for consideration.
"Even with efforts to improve the bill before passage, the American Health Care Act still contains major defects, particularly regarding changes to Medicaid (federal health program that provides aid to individuals and low-income families ) that risk coverage and affordability for millions; it is deeply disappointing that the voices of those who will be most severely impacted were not heeded", says Msg. Dewane. "The AHCA does offer critical life protections, and our health care system desperately needs these safeguards. But still, vulnerable people must not be left in poor and worse situations ...".
Since the debates on the abolition of the "Affordable Care Act" have begun, US Bishops have repeatedly asked the Congress to abide by the fundamental moral principles in health reform. Among them: access for all people to comprehensive, quality health care that is truly affordable; respect for life by preventing the use of federal funds for abortion or to purchase health care plans that cover it; and conscience protections. Prior to Thursday’s vote, Mgr. Dewane had urged House members to insist on such changes.
The note sent to Fides highlights what was stated by Mgr. Decane: "When the Senate takes up the AHCA, it must act decisively to remove the harmful proposals from the bill that will affect low-income people, including immigrants. Our health care policy must honor all human life and dignity from conception to natural death, as well as defend the sincerely-held moral and religious beliefs of those who have any role in the health care system". (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 05/05/2017)