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After repeal fails, 'task remains' to reform health care, says bishop


  • The U.S. Capitol is seen prior to an all-night round of health care votes on Capitol Hill July 27 in Washington. The Senate rejected legislation to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act. (CNS photo/Aaron P. Bernstein, Reuters)
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., speaks with reporters ahead of a health care vote on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Senate rejected legislation to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act. (CNS photo/Aaron P. Bernstein, Reuters)
  • Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks with reporters ahead of a health care vote July 27 on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Senate rejected legislation to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, with McCain casting a decisive "no." (CNS photo/Aaron P. Bernstein, Reuters)
  • Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, walks to the Senate floor prior to a health care vote July 27 on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Senate rejected legislation to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act. (CNS photo/Aaron P. Bernstein, Reuters)
  • U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrives prior to an all-night round of health care votes on Capitol Hill July 27 in Washington. The Senate rejected legislation to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act. (CNS photo/Aaron P. Bernstein, Reuters)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- After the Senate Republicans failed to get enough votes to pass a "skinny" repeal to remove parts of the Affordable Care Act in the early hours of July 28, the U.S. Catholic Church's lead spokesman on the issue said the "task of reforming the health care system still remains."

The nation's system under the Affordable Care Act "is not financially sustainable" and "lacks full Hyde protections and conscience rights," said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

It also "is inaccessible to many immigrants," he said in a statement.

"Inaction will result in harm for too many people," Bishop Dewane added.

The failed repeal bill was a pared-down version of earlier bills. It would have repealed both the individual mandate that says all Americans must buy health insurance or pay a penalty and the requirement all large employers offer health insurance to their workers. It would have expanded health savings accounts, delayed a tax on medical devices and increased funding for community health centers by taking defunding Planned Parenthood by $400 million.

The vote was 51 against, and 49 in favor. All the Democrats voted "no." Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, joined two other GOP senators in rejecting the measure, Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine.

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