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Bishops Respond to Failure of “Skinny” Obamacare Repeal

doctorsNow that the so-called “Skinny Repeal” of Obamacare has failed in the Senate, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, is calling upon the U.S. Congress to make certain that future proposals pursue the common good of the nation.

"Despite the Senate's decision not to pass legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last night, the task of reforming the healthcare system still remains,” Bishop Dewane said in a statement issued on Friday. “The current healthcare system is not financially sustainable, lacks full Hyde protections and conscience rights, and is inaccessible to many immigrants. Inaction will result in harm for too many people.”

The bishops believe that a moment has opened for Congress to set aside party and personal differences to pursue the common good, particularly for the most vulnerable. In order to do this, any bill future proposals must contain the following provisions:

 Protect Medicaid program from changes that would harm millions of struggling Americans.

 Protect the safety net from any other changes that harm the poor, immigrants, or any others at the margins.

 Address the real probability of collapsing insurance markets and the corresponding loss of genuine affordability for those with limited means.

 Provide full Hyde Amendment provisions and much-needed conscience protections.

“Any final agreement that respects human life and dignity, honors conscience rights, and ensures that everyone can access health care that is comprehensive, high quality, and truly affordable deserves the support of all of us,” the bishop said.

At the moment, health care reform efforts have stalled in Congress as lawmakers regroup after the narrow loss of the Skinny Repeal on Thursday evening. With Obamacare exchanges collapsing in many states, the controversial reform passed in 2009 no longer seems sustainable in its present form. However, the majority of Americans (64 percent) now say they either want to keep Obamacare as it is or issue legislation that will fix its many flaws.

“The greatness of our country is not measured by the well-being of the powerful but how we have cared for the 'least of these’,” the bishop said. “Congress can and should pass health care legislation that lives up to that greatness."

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