Monday, January 11, 2010

Sister Mary Ann Walsh: Politics of health care 'reform' can make you sick

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the director of media relations for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote this guest editorial in the Washington Post:

By Sister Mary Ann Walsh
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Catholic bishops have urged the government to reform our ailing health care system for decades. To do this, the House and Senate have now passed bills with this aim, bills that must be reconciled into one final bill. But the present state of affairs is enough to make you sick. The gamesmanship in Congress relates more to politics than health and has created serious problems. Despite the bishops' desire for health care reform, the proposed bills could turn the bishops from allies into opponents. So far, health care reform it is not.

Sr. Walsh specifies five problems with the bills:
1) Paying for abortion
2) Conscience rights
3) Basic fairness issues
4) Risk to overall health
5) Affordability
Read the entire article here.


More Information:

LifeNews.Com: Catholic Bishops Rep: Health Care Reform Bill Pro-abortion on Funding, Conscience by Steven Ertelt

Related Information:

 Sister Mary Walsh: Keeping Catholic hospitals true to their identity

Sister Mary Walsh: Keeping Catholic hospitals true to their identity

 Sister Mary Walsh, a representative of the nation's bishops, shared the following on the USCCB Media Blog on January 8:

A friend just got a job in a Catholic hospital. She loves the work, and I hear with delight about the employee training program and the mission of top-flight care in a Catholic setting.

She is a receptionist, and hospital leaders know values must be conveyed by all the staff, from the first person you meet to the professional staff who hold lives in their hands.

Values that emphasize the sacredness of every person, rich or poor, coming into life or leaving it, are paramount in Catholic hospitals and right now the U.S. bishops are working hard to make sure these values will still exist under health care reform.

Catholic health care encompasses more than 600 facilities; the ministry costs about $6.7 billion annually. Yet, although Catholic hospitals are a major force, their unique nature could be threatened if the health care reform bills dismiss concerns of the bishops.

The U.S. bishops do not want an expansion of abortion and urge that the policy of the Hyde Amendment be preserved. The Hyde Amendment, first passed in 1976, precludes federal money from being used to pay for elective abortions or plans which provide coverage for them. This already is policy for several major federal health programs. The underlying principle: health care reform should not force anybody to pay for another’s abortion.

The bishops want conscience protection for institutions and individuals. Among other things, they would like to see the language of the Weldon Amendment incorporated into health care reform. Weldon, passed in 2004, prevents government bodies from discriminating against hospitals and other health care providers that do not perform, refer for or pay for abortions. Health care facilities and personnel have the right to provide care according to a value system that respects each human life. Language from the Weldon Amendment is now in the House health care reform bill and needs to be retained in final legislation.

Pro-lifers prepare to push ahead

So far this year, healthcare reform dominates the news as it did in 2009. And while pro-lilfers have had their share of victories, one leader in that movement encourages them to remain attentive to the battle against abortion.

Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life

Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life tells OneNewsNow the pro-life community definitely has a challenge ahead and members need to stay alert and engaged.

She adds, however, that pro-life advocates "have to avoid feeling discouraged because we've had such remarkable victories. Just the very fact that we've managed to push the vote on healthcare reform into the New Year was a remarkable achievement," she says.

If the Senate version of healthcare reform is passed, Yoest notes it would be the greatest advancement for abortion in society since Roe vs. Wade.

"The challenge for us all is that in terms of what it is right now, there still isn't a final bill -- and that's what people have to stay focused on," she comments. "We have a House version and we have a Senate version, and they have to be reconciled. So the fight right now is over what that final bill is going to look like."

Pro-abortion factions have said they will bypass the conference committee in which House and Senate representatives hammer out a compromise and develop their own version to submit to both houses.

U.S. bishops reactivate nationwide campaign against federal abortion funding

After 40 years of silence after Vatican II, it's nice to see some of our bishops starting to wake up and defend the faith.

With House and Senate leaders meeting behind closed doors to forge a health care overhaul bill, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has reactivated its grassroots campaign to encourage Catholics nationwide to tell lawmakers they oppose federal funding of abortion.

Bulletin inserts, a prayer campaign and pulpit announcements are all part of the effort to help ensure that the final version of the health care reform bill sent to President Obama will include Hyde amendment protections explicitly preventing the use of federal money in promoting, performing, or paying for abortions.

The bulletin insert, distributed to over 19,000 parishes, notes that the House health care bill, passed on November 7, 2009, “reaffirms the essential, longstanding and widely supported policy against using federal funds for elective abortions and includes positive measures on affordability and immigrants.”

However, the insert stresses, the Senate version of the bill “requires federal funds to help subsidize and promote health plans that cover elective abortions. All purchasers of such plans will be required to pay for other people’s abortions through a separate payment solely to pay for abortion.”

“Outside the abortion context, neither bill has adequate conscience protection for health care providers, plans or employers,” it adds.

story here