WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 Sister Carol Keehan, DC, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), issued the following statement:
New figures from the U.S. Census Bureau confirm what the economy has been telling us for months: that the middle class is struggling to afford and hold onto health care coverage as wages decline and insurance costs continue to rise. The Bureau's findings affirmed the economic and moral arguments President Obama made last night about our nation's need for good, meaningful health reform.
As 46.3 million people went without any health insurance last year, median household income dropped 3.6 percent between 2007 and 2008, creating greater challenges for hard-working families. This explains clearly why the President and many in Congress have been highlighting how middle class families so urgently need reform.
As we know too well by now, losing health insurance - especially during a recession - comes with an enormous financial and human cost for families, communities and our nation as a whole.
We must make this the year that the Census Bureau's numbers move us to real action instead of more partisan rhetoric. At this unique moment in the history of our nation, we have an opportunity to make our health care system available to everyone - and to fortify it for future generations. Squandering that opportunity is not an option.
President Obama made clear last night that the primary goals of health reform are simple: to provide security for those who currently have coverage and viable options for those who do not. While CHA has yet to endorse any legislation or specific plan, we are encouraged by recent momentum toward finding the common ground to move forward - this year.
It is critically important as we take the next steps toward reform that we do everything possible to protect life. We were pleased to hear President Obama make clear last night that health reform will not allow for the federal funding of abortion and will keep in place widely-supported conscience protections for those who refuse to be involved in morally objectionable procedures.
The Catholic health ministry has long championed a health care system that respects human dignity from conception to natural death, providing compassionate and affordable care for everyone who needs it. The Census Bureau findings and the President's speech emphasized what we already know: that the time is now for health reform legislation that is uniquely American and works for all the nation's people.
The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), founded in 1915, supports the Catholic health ministry's commitment to improve the health status of communities and create quality and compassionate health care that works for everyone. The Catholic health ministry is the nation's largest group of not-for-profit health systems and facilities that, along with their sponsoring organizations, employ more than 750,000 women and men who deliver services combining advanced technology with the Catholic caring tradition. For more information, visit the CHA website at www.chausa.org.
SOURCE Catholic Health Association of the United States