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Bishops: Revised health care bill still ‘unacceptable’

A round-up of what Catholic bishops are saying, doing about current events

Bishops: Revised health care bill still ‘unacceptable’

WASHINGTON | Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, reacted strongly to the revised Senate health reform bill, the “Better Care Reconciliation Act” (BCRA). 

“The USCCB is reviewing carefully the health care bill introduced by Senate leadership earlier today. On an initial read, we do not see enough improvement to change our assessment that the proposal is unacceptable. We recognize the incremental improvement in funding the fight against opioid addiction, for instance, but more is needed to honor our moral obligation to our brothers and sisters living in poverty and to ensure that essential protections for the unborn remain in the bill.”

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In an earlier letter concerning the draft of the BCRA that was introduced June 22, Bishop Dewane had warned that, “[t]he BCRA’s restructuring of Medicaid will adversely impact those already in deep health poverty. At a time when tax cuts that would seem to benefit the wealthy and increases in other areas of federal spending, such as defense, are being contemplated, placing a ‘per capita cap’ on medical coverage for the poor is unconscionable.”

The full letter from June 27 can be found here.

Bishops decry cap on refugee admissions

WASHINGTON | This week, refugee admissions reached the historically low cap of 50,000 allowed to be resettled in the United States for Fiscal Year 2017, as set forth by the Trump Administration’s March 6 Executive Order 13780. Executive Order 13780 altered the initial Fiscal Year 2017 Presidential Determination which authorized the resettlement of 110,000 refugees into the United States. Currently there are approximately 22.5 million refugees seeking protection globally. 

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, issued the following statement in response to the resettlement cap:  

“I note with sadness that the new U.S. refugee admissions cap of 50,000 individuals has been reached this week. While certain refugees who have ‘bona fide relationships’ will still be allowed to arrive, I remain deeply concerned about the human consequences of this limitation and its impact on vulnerable refugees such as unaccompanied refugee children, elderly and infirm refugees, and religious minorities. Now, these vulnerable populations will not be able to access needed protection and will continue to face danger and exploitation. Pope Francis reminds us that ‘refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity.’ We must be mindful that every refugee is more than just a number, they are a child of God.

“Looking forward, my brother bishops and I urge the Administration to allow 75,000 refugees to arrive to our country in the next fiscal year. As I stated in March 2017, in relation to this particular Executive Order, ‘Resettling only 50,000 refugees a year, down from 110,000, does not reflect the need, our compassion, and our capacity as a nation.’ We firmly believe that as a nation the United States has the good will, character, leadership, and resources to help more vulnerable people seek refuge. Most importantly, the Church will continue to serve and stand in solidarity with refugees, welcoming and accompanying them on their journey to protection and safety.”

The full letter from March 17 can be found here

Join Florida's bishops in pledge to end the death penalty

TALLAHASSEE | The Florida bishops are inviting all Catholic faithful to join them in their promise to educate, advocate and pray for an end to the use of the death penalty.

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Administered by the Catholic Mobilizing Network, the National Catholic Pledge to End the Death Penalty was initiated at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) offices in Washington, D.C., and Florida's bishops were among the first signatories.

The Church stands in support of people who have been victims of crime and acknowledges the pain and loss they suffer. At the same time, the Church proclaims the human dignity of all people, even those who have done grave harm. As people of faith, we are called to make known the mercy of God in a modern society where the death penalty is not needed to maintain public safety.

“By this pledge campaign it is hoped that American Catholics will join together with people of good will to work to end the death penalty in the United States,” said  Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

Click here to learn more and to make your pledge of education, advocacy, and prayer for the end of the death penalty.

Comments from readers

Rigo Labrada Jr - 07/19/2017 02:32 PM
In reading the article, I was not sure what the Bishop wanted. Anyone has healthcare coverage in an emergency situation. He is combining two different issues and both have no easy solutions. Legal and orderly immigration should be the key in any country trying to balance freedom and threats of terrorism. With that said, how many other countries have abandoned their goodwill and let the US pick up the pieces. And the US should lead on these efforts, but a secure border is best for all involved. The US healthcare system is fraught with many issues. One being the For Profit nature of these big insurance companies. The government, doctors, lawyers, lobbyists for all these parties and their each piece of this $billion pie makes it even harder to settle on common ground. The government can only do so much and sometimes very poorly. Case in point is the VA system that if anyone applauds single payer apparatus should think twice. So what is the answer? Only holding our elected representatives accountable will get the changes we need. Obamacare is unsustainable for the ones paying high premiums and even higher deductibles every year. Systemically everything has to change to change for the better but a more concerted effort to write about the ways things have to change instead of who has to be covered may serve to move the right people. I am extremely happy that this administration has made the issue of tax payer funding of abortion a top priority because the Obama administration demeaned the rights of our religious liberties by accepting this in heir plans.

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