‘We have witnessed firsthand…the lack of quality, affordable healthcare in this country’


July 24, 2017

On the eve of a key procedural vote on health care, 7,150 Catholic Sisters from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. have sent a message to the Senate: Don’t pass any proposal that repeals the Affordable Care Act or cuts Medicaid.
The 7,150 Sisters each signed a letter to all 100 Senators stating, “We, 7,150 Catholic Sisters in the United States, write to urge you to cast a life-affirming ‘no’ vote against the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).  The BCRA would be the most harmful legislation for American families in our lifetimes, and it goes against our Catholic faith teaching.”

The letter was authored by Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice and leader of the group Nuns on the Bus.  NETWORK is a member of the Coalition on Human Needs, and Sister Campbell sits on CHN’s Board of Directors.

The letter states, “As Catholic women religious, we have witnessed firsthand the moral crisis of lack of quality, affordable healthcare in this country.  We have seen early and avoidable deaths because of lack of insurance, prohibitive costs, and lack of access to quality care.  We fought for the expansion of coverage in the Affordable Care Act because we saw the life-giving value of crucial healthcare programs such as Medicaid.  This program covers over 70 million Americans, including children, pregnant women (and nearly half of all births in this country), people with disabilities, people struggling to get by, and senior citizens.  Further, some of our fellow women religious rely on Medicaid in nursing homes when we can no longer care for our sisters at home.”

The Senate is tentatively scheduled to move forward Tuesday afternoon with a procedural vote known as a “motion to proceed.”  If that vote gains the support of 50 senators, then the Senate will move forward with debate on some form of ACA repeal.  Details of what exact version of repeal legislation the Senate will be debating have yet to be released.

Although the letter focuses on the Senate’s original proposal, it includes a preamble criticizing the last-minute desperate attempts to pass a poorly-crafted, unpopular bill that puts politics over the nation’s health.  “Since this letter was circulated, Senate leadership has repeatedly changed course – from the BCRA, to a repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement, to amendments of bills from 2015.  This is not good governance….Rather than continuing to negotiate partisan legislation that would cause tens of millions of Americans to lose access to health coverage, Congress should seek bipartisan solutions to expand quality, affordable coverage.”

To see the full text of the letter as well as the 7,150 signees, go here.


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