Millions of People Will be Helped, Lives Saved
WASHINGTON, DC (March 21, 2010) — The following statement is being released by Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, president and chief executive office of the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA):
The Catholic Health Association applauds the U.S. House of Representatives and President Obama for enacting health care reform legislation that will bring security and health to millions of American families. The reform law will save and improve lives across our country. It represents great progress in the long effort to make health care available and affordable to everyone in the United States.
We call upon the U.S. Senate to move quickly to enact the accompanying correction legislation in order that the full benefits of reform become a reality.
While not perfect, the reform law significantly expands coverage, especially to low-income and vulnerable populations, and is a tremendous step toward protecting human dignity and promoting the common good. The law will prevent insurance companies from denying policies to those with pre-existing conditions; protect families from bankruptcy due to medical expenses; help small businesses provide insurance for their workers; improve Medicare drug benefit coverage by closing the doughnut hole and significantly cut the federal deficit. Most importantly, 32 million people who were previously uninsured will be able to obtain meaningful coverage at an affordable price.
CHA has long championed health care reform that protects life, makes coverage affordable for the greatest possible number of people and puts our system on a path to reducing costs while providing better and safer care. The bill that became law this weekend is an excellent start. We will work with our members and other groups over the coming months to ensure that regulations putting the law into effect are crafted wisely with input from all affected individuals and organizations. During this process, Catholic-sponsored health care providers will continue, as always, to serve everyone who requires our care and compassion — regardless of their ability to pay.
We are confident that the reform law does not allow federal funding of abortion and that it keeps in place important conscience protections for caregivers and institutions alike. We are also pleased that the bill includes $250 million to fund counseling, education, job training and housing for vulnerable women who are pregnant or parenting.
Reaching this point has not been easy, and the days ahead involve hard work to implement the law effectively. CHA and its members stand ready to work with the Administration, Congress and other groups to ensure the long-term success of reform.
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.