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Catholic Support for Health Care Reform All about Money

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer For several Catholic organizations that have come out in support of Congress’ pro-abortion health care reform, monetary interest may be behind their backing. Last week, Catholic Charities USA, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Catholic Health Association issued “news alerts” to their members, asking them to contact their representatives to urge passage of health care reform “now.” The missives acknowledged that many of the bill’s details “still need to be developed” but mentioned nothing about the pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia aspects of the bill when urging passage. Since that time, it was discovered that Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), whose president, Fr. Snyder, is a member of President Obama's Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, will receive $100 million in federal aid, causing many to wonder if monetary gain was behind their support of Congress’ plan. is now reporting that Sr. Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association (CHA), is compensated by the organization to the tune of more than $800,000 a year and several other employees make more than $300,000. Jack Smith, editor of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Key, points out that the CHA is a for-profit trade association and not a Catholic teaching organization. "CHA is not a repository of Catholic social teaching with regard to health care or an association of moral theologians or a charity in service of the poor," wrote Smith.  "It is a trade association." While "there is nothing wrong with a trade association," he added, "too many reporters, including members of the Catholic press, have sought comment from CHA without recognizing they are primarily an organization with a vested financial interest in the outcome of the health care debate." Recent criticism has caused the CHA to affirm that it only supports reform consistent with "the dignity of life," but the organization threw its weight behind Obama's plan for health care reform from the very beginning. In fact, on a July 8 visit to the White House, Sr. Carol Keehan represented CHA among a group of hospital associations that had committed $155 billion in Medicare and Medicaid savings over several years to help cover the cost of health care reform.  One of the nation’s largest grass roots pro-life organizations, the American Life League (ALL), is raising concerns over the Obama administration's ties to both CHA and Catholic Charities USA. Judie Brown, ALL president, said the groups' involvement with the Obama administration, coupled with their apparent complacency over the health legislation's abortion mandate, paints a troubling picture. "All of this leads one to wonder what exactly Obama has been stirring up," said Brown.  "His administration has been persuading various so-called Catholic leaders that-regardless of Catholic magisterial teaching-there is a seat at the table for Catholics who will set aside the tragedy of abortion for the supposedly greater cause of 'reforming' health care, via Obama's virtual fiat." To express concern: Catholic Charities USA 66 Canal Center Plaza Suite 600 Alexandria, Virginia 22314 Phone: (703) 549-1390 Fax: (703) 549-1656 Sister Carol Keehan, President and CEO The Catholic Health Association 1875 Eye Street NW, Suite 1000 Washington, DC 20006-5440 phone: (202) 296-3993 Society of Saint Vincent de Paul 58 Progress Parkway St. Louis, Missouri 63043-3706 phone: 314-576-3993 fax: 576-6755 © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®




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