BBA RESTORATIONS: Catholic Group Begins Campaign
The Catholic Health Association of the United States has declared a "national health care crisis" and launched a campaign that "calls on Catholics in America to urge the president and the Congress to restore Medicare, Medicaid and other human services funding vital to maintaining quality health services in the country" (CHA release, 10/6) A half-page CHA ad in today's New York Times notes, "We believe that the Balanced Budget Act was well intended, but based on an unfair distribution of sacrifice. An extraordinary share of spending cuts was forced on Medicare, Medicaid and other human services programs -- creating a crisis" and "contributing to the inability of the nation's health care system to continue delivering vital health care services to every American." The ad refers to Monday's Census bureau report showing 44.3 million Americans have no insurance. The text of the ad continues, "Restoring vital Medicare and Medicaid funding as a step toward accessible and affordable health care for all is not only the right thing to do -- it's a moral responsibility. Beginning today, and every day until the crisis is resolved, we will take this message to everyone we touch in America" (ad text, 10/6). A television ad featuring Sister Carol Keehan, president of Washington, D.C.- based Providence Hospital, informs viewers that "Patients are hurting because Medicare cuts have gone too far."
A Big Responsibility
The association estimates that "nearly one out of five Americans" received health care from "Catholic caregivers." Sister Maryanna Coyle, the chair of the Coalition on Catholic Health Care Ministry, said, "First and foremost, our ministry in health care is based on a biblical calling to heal the sick and serve the 'least of these.' For Catholics in the ministry of health care, we believe that health care is not a commodity -- but a basic human right -- an essential safeguard of human life and dignity" (release, 10/6).