NETWORK Joins Moral Rally for Healthcare Before House Vote

March 22, 2017

The day before the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Republican replacement, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), NETWORK joined with Rev. William Barber, II, Faith in Public Life, and clergy representing many faiths, to speak on the moral call for healthcare for all. Laura Peralta-Schulte, NETWORK Senior Government Relations Advocate, spoke; watch her remarks or read the transcript below:

Healthcare is a matter of life and death.

For Catholics, our Church’s teaching on healthcare is simple: Healthcare is fundamental right, not a privilege for those who can afford it.

It was Pope Benedict who summed it up best when he said, “it is the moral responsible of nations to guarantee access to health care for all of their citizens, regardless of social and economic status or their ability to pay.”

Our long and rich tradition is based on the Gospel’s call to love our neighbor.  We are called to imitate the practices of Christ who ministered to the sick, cared for those in poverty, and went directly to the people who were on the margins.

Our teaching is not a theory or an intellectual exercise.  It is the way we are called to live in this very broken and suffering world.

The Catholic Sisters who founded NETWORK over four decades ago have shown an unwavering commitment to justice for healthcare.  We believed the Affordable Care Act was a huge step in the right direction.

NETWORK’s Executive Director Sister Simone, boldly proclaimed it in 2010 creating the “Nun’s Letter” and we were hopefully, a little bit a part of how that bill got passed.

And you know what? They were right.  The law has made a profound difference as we’re here today and look at these beautiful babies.

So, Speaker Ryan tomorrow your bill is on the floor and you are taking our country in a very different direction. That bill will deny healthcare to millions of people.  That includes almost 50,000 women, children, and men in your own district who stand to lose healthcare.

At the same time, the Speaker’s bill gives the pharmaceutical industry, the insurance industry, and the wealthiest families in America a big, fat tax cut paid for by none other than Medicaid.

Speaker Ryan we say to you today: This bill is shameful and violates the core beliefs of our Catholic faith.  Rather than providing a preferential option for the poor, it provides a preferential option for the wealthy and well connected.

It is not a faithful way forward.  We plead with House Members to reject this bill and the suffering it will produce.

Blessed Pope John Paul II said in his farewell address to America, “The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless ones.”

Those comments were echoed by Pope Francis in his visit to Washington when he said, “You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics.

Tomorrow, House Members have a choice.  Whose side will they chose? Will they stand with the 24 million Americans who will lose coverage under this bill, or not?

Speaker Ryan: You are called by faith to do better than this. In this season of Lent, we pray you and House Members will reject this bill for the health and well-being of the people you pledged to represent.

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