During October, November, and January, diocesan and parish leaders were asked by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to distribute three consecutive Nationwide Bulletin Inserts on health care reform. Thank you for your great cooperation in that effort. Since that time the following has occurred:
- The U.S. House passed health care reform that reaffirms the essential, longstanding and widely supported policy against using federal funds for elective abortion coverage.
- The U.S. Senate has rejected this policy and passed health care reform that requires federal funds to help subsidize and promote health plans that cover elective abortions. All purchasers of such plans will be required to pay for other people's abortions through a separate payment solely to pay for abortion. And the affordability credits for very low income families purchasing private plans in a Health Insurance Exchange are inadequate and would leave families financially vulnerable.
- Congressional leaders are now trying to figure out how the rules of the House and Senate could allow the final passage of a modified bill that would satisfy disagreements between House and Senate versions.
Catholics need to make their voices heard insisting that health care reform protect the lives, dignity, consciences and health of all. Provisions against abortion funding and in favor of conscience protection, affordability, and immigrants' access to health care must be part of a fair and just health care reform bill. Unless and until these criteria are met, the final bill must be opposed.
The U.S. bishops have asked that the USCCB Nationwide Bulletin Insert (Spanish Insert) on health care reform be distributed in any way possible as soon as possible. Final votes may take place as early as this weekend. If your Arch/bishop approved disseminating the earlier bulletin inserts, consider this an update.
Also included are suggested Pulpit Announcements and a Prayer Petition (Spanish Announcements and Prayer). Please encourage parishioners to pray for this effort as well. More information can be found at www.usccb.org/healthcare.
Thank you for your urgent actions and prayers on behalf of this nationwide effort!