WASHINGTON, Aug. 28 The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) has long been committed to a goal of health coverage for all people in the United States. CHA has not, however, endorsed any of the bills currently under consideration.
"Our message has always been clear," said Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, president and chief executive office of the association. "Health care must respect and protect human dignity from conception to natural death. In that spirit, coverage for everyone is a moral imperative and a matter of social justice."
Nearly two years before the national reform conversation began, CHA put forward a set of principles to guide the effort. The "Vision For U.S. Health Care" document, developed collaboratively with members of the Catholic health ministry, begins with values from Catholic social teaching including human dignity, justice and the common good. "The values and principles set forth in the Vision document guide our advocacy for effective health reform," Sr. Carol noted.
"To date, CHA has not endorsed any health care reform bill, but our message to lawmakers is unchanged: Health reform should not result in an expansion of abortion, and it must maintain conscience protections for health care providers who do not want to participate in abortions or other morally objectionable procedures," Sr. Carol stressed.
CHA is working closely with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to bring about health reform that respects the life and dignity of every person, from conception to natural death. This means care that respects the unborn, the patient with multiple sclerosis, the person living with cancer, the young mother, the addicted, the mentally ill, the frail elderly, the dying patient.
CHA did collaborate earlier this summer with other major hospital groups to reach an agreement with the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Max Baucus, and the White House on contributions to finance health care reform. The agreement, which holds hospitals to Medicare payment reductions and delivery system reforms that amount to approximately $155 billion over 10 years, protects hospital payments until there is significant new coverage of the uninsured. The agreement is also consistent with the principle in CHA's Vision document calling for shared responsibility for financing.
"The agreement did not include any commitments to endorse specific legislation but marked major progress in advancing reform and working together to finance health care in this country," Sr. Carol added.
"Catholic health care is privileged and proud to serve our patients, our communities and our country -- and to be sure the most vulnerable are always represented and cared for," Sr. Carol said. "Now, as the reform conversation reaches a pivotal point, our message stays the same: it's time to create the health care system the American people deserve and can be proud of."
The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), founded in 1915, supports the Catholic health ministry's pursuit of the strategic directions of mission, ethics, and advocacy. As the nation's largest group of not-for-profit sponsors, systems, and facilities, the ministry is committed to improving the health status of communities and creating quality and compassionate health care that works for everyone. For more information, visit the CHA website at www.chausa.org.
SOURCE Catholic Health Association of the United States