CATHOLIC SISTERS FOR HEALTHCARE
Since this letter was circulated, Senate leadership has repeatedly changed course – from the BCRA, to a repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement, to amendments of bills from 2015. This is not good governance. Catholic Sisters are united in defense of our nation’s most vulnerable, who are most at risk in these healthcare negotiations. Rather than continuing to negotiate partisan legislation that would cause tens of millions of Americans to lose access to health coverage, Congress should seek bipartisan solutions to expand quality, affordable coverage. As Catholic Sisters, we stand by our belief that health is a universal right and urge Senators to vote no on the motion to proceed for any bill that would repeal the ACA and cut Medicaid.
July 24, 2017
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
We, Catholic Sisters in the United States, write to urge you to cast a life-affirming “no” vote against the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). We have many concerns with this bill, but we are most troubled by the cuts it would make to Medicaid by ending the Medicaid expansion and instituting a per capita cap. Our faith urges us to care for all people and all of creation, especially the most vulnerable. The BCRA would be the most harmful legislation for American families in our lifetimes, and it goes against our Catholic faith teaching.
As Pope Francis teaches, “health is not a consumer good, but a universal right, so access to health services cannot be a privilege.” Responding to this integral part of our faith, many of our religious congregations founded hospitals and hospital systems in the United States. Other congregations sponsor clinics and various services for people on the economic margins. The passage of this bill would cause far more suffering than we could possibly attend to through charity. For this reason we are speaking out.
As Catholic women religious, we have witnessed firsthand the moral crisis of lack of quality, affordable healthcare in this country. We have seen early and avoidable deaths because of lack of insurance, prohibitive costs, and lack of access to quality care. We fought for the expansion of coverage in the Affordable Care Act because we saw the life-giving value of crucial healthcare programs such as Medicaid. This program covers over 70 million Americans, including children, pregnant women (and nearly half of all births in this country), people with disabilities, people struggling to get by, and senior citizens. Further, some of our fellow women religious rely on Medicaid in nursing homes when we can no longer care for our sisters at home.
The BCRA would end the Medicaid program as we know it by taking lifesaving healthcare away from millions. The BCRA takes hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid and gives it to the very wealthiest individuals and corporations in the form of tax breaks. This is simply immoral and contrary to the teachings of our Catholic faith. Jesus teaches that “whatever you did for one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for me.” Our response should not be to take healthcare away from the most vulnerable by cutting and capping Medicaid.
To cut Medicaid and take healthcare from millions of people is not a pro-life stance. We urge you to be mindful of the needs of all of our people and the call to the common good. Vote no on the BCRA.
Simone Campbell, SSS
… and the more than 7,000 Catholic sisters from all 50 states and the District of Columbia whose names can be found here.