Advocacy Agenda 2019-2020

(116th Congress)

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About CHA

2019-Advocacy-AgendaThe Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) is the national leadership organization of the Catholic health ministry, representing the largest not-for-profit provider of health care services in the nation. By pursuing the priorities of the ministry, CHA is working to create health care that serves everyone. All 50 states and the District of Columbia are served by Catholic health care organizations providing acute care, skilled nursing and other services including hospice, home health, assisted living and senior housing.

Our advocacy is grounded in the core values that form the CHA Vision for U.S. Health Care:

  • Human Dignity: Because each person is created in the image of God, each life is sacred and possesses inalienable worth. Health care is essential to promoting and protecting the inherent dignity of every individual from conception to natural death.
  • Concern for the Poor and Vulnerable: The moral measure of society is how it treats the poor and vulnerable, who are particularly marginalized by a lack of access to health care.
  • Justice: Health care is a basic human right alongside food and shelter, all of which are necessary for individuals to participate fully in society.
  • Common Good: The health and well-being of each person is intertwined with the health and well-being of the broader community. Access to health care is an essential element contributing to the common good alongside others such as education, employment and a safe environment.
  • Stewardship: Our societal resources are finite, and we must make wise choices for how they are allocated. Health care resources should focus on the well-being of the community and be structured to deliver the care that is most medically beneficial and promotes public health.
  • Pluralism: The health care system should allow and encourage involvement of the public and private sectors including voluntary, religious and not-for-profit organizations, and it should respect the religious and ethical values of patients and health care providers alike.

Our Priorities for the 116th Congress

Ensuring Access and Coverage for All

Over the past several years, significant progress has been made toward expanding access to health insurance coverage and improving the quality of care in our delivery system. However, far too many are still without health coverage or suffer from coverage and care that does not fully meet their needs. In this Congress, we will work to:

  • Enhance affordability, accessibility and quality of coverage for all, paying special attention to low-income and vulnerable individuals and those in rural communities
  • Ensure continued access and coverage for the millions of Americans who have gained insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, including those with pre-existing and chronic conditions, through efforts to further improve the program
  • Discover better and more effective financing models to improve the provision of and access to care
  • Pursue innovative policy approaches for delivering care to improve access and outcomes and reduce costs through integration, coordination and prevention
  • Improve access to mental and behavioral health services as well as substance use disorder treatment, to ensure coordinated and holistic care

Maintaining A Strong Safety Net

The Catholic health ministry is committed to serving those in need, young and old, throughout every stage of life, and to advocating on their behalf. We support:

  • Preservation and strengthening of the Medicare and Medicaid programs to protect the health and well-being of seniors and vulnerable low-income individuals
  • Continuing the state option for Medicaid coverage expansion for all low-income individuals and ensuring vigorous Congressional oversight of state Medicaid waivers
  • Efforts to improve care coordination and quality outcomes in Medicare, Medicaid and other safety net programs through innovative measures such as telehealth services
  • Policies to provide adequate and sustainable financing, particularly for disproportionate share hospitals and rural communities, to ensure the ability of health care providers to provide quality, compassionate care
  • Efforts to address prescription drug pricing and transparency, and preserving access to affordable drugs for low-income individuals through the 340(b) drug discount program

Strengthening Aging and Chronic Care Services

CHA strongly supports excellence in care for older persons, advanced care planning, chronic care management and efforts to coordinate and integrate person-centered and age-friendly health care services along the continuum of care. We support:

  • Improved access to quality palliative care for those suffering the pain and stress of serious illness, as a core component of the health care system
  • Sustainable financing for long-term care facilities and services
  • Improved coordination of care for aging and chronically ill patients
  • Choices for elders and persons with disabilities to receive long-term care services in the most appropriate care setting, whether at home, in the community (such as PACE) or in a facility

Protecting Life and Ensuring Conscience Protection

Mission and identity are integral and indispensable aspects of Catholic health care. We support measures that allow our providers the freedom to serve, protect and defend human life from conception to natural death. We will work to:

  • Preserve and strengthen existing provider conscience protections that allow us to provide care consistent with our faith
  • Advocate policies that acknowledge our religious, ethical and moral values

Improving the Health and Well-being of Communities: 
In addition to providing care, the Catholic health ministry is committed to population health and improving the health and well-being of our communities. We support policies to: 

  • Eliminate disparities in health care access, services, quality and outcomes 
  • Fund programs that address the social determinants of health including housing and food security, education, discrimination, poverty and violence
  • Further our mission to care for those in need through community benefit programs, strengthening not-for- profit health care and protecting tax-exempt status
  • Address social justice issues to eliminate human trafficking, protect immigrants and their access to health care and promote environmental responsibility