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Health care prescription? Regroup, cooperate, Catholic health leaders say


  • Health care activists protest the Republican health care bill at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington July 17. The bill collapsed in the Senate later that day after two more GOP senators said they couldn't support it. (CNS photo/Yuri Gripas, Reuters)
  • U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is seen on Capitol Hill April 7. Republicans' effort to pass a health care bill in the Senate collapsed July 17. (CNS photo/Aaron P. Bernstein, Reuters)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- After efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act collapsed late July 17 in the U.S. Senate, Catholic health care leaders said they hope Congress will work together, in small steps, to fix flaws in the current legislation.

The bill lost ground when two Republican senators announced their opposition to it, joining two other senators who opposed the bill and leaving Republican leaders at least two votes short of the 50 needed to start debate on the measure.

Four days earlier, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said in a statement that the measure, a revision of an earlier draft, still did not have "enough improvement to change our assessment that the proposal is unacceptable."

"The Catholic Health Association is pleased that the bill in the Senate will not go forward," said Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity, who is president and CEO of the association, adding: "It would have had incredibly negative consequences for so many Americans."

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