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Bishop: 'Fundamental defects' persist in Senate's version of health bill


  • Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price conducts a health care listening session June 21 at the White House in Washington. "An acceptable health care system provides access to all, regardless of their means, and at all stages of life," Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., said in a June 22 statement. (CNS photo/Shawn Thew, EPA)
  • A man poses a question on health care to U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., during a town hall meeting May 30 in Cranford, N.J. "An acceptable health care system provides access to all, regardless of their means, and at all stages of life," Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., said in a June 22 statement. (CNS photo/Mike Segar, Reuters)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Senate's Better Care Reconciliation Act contains "many of the fundamental defects" that appeared in the House-passed American Health Care Act "and even further compounds them," said the bishop who heads the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

The Senate released its health care reform bill in "discussion draft" form June 22.

"As is, the discussion draft stands to cause disturbing damage to the human beings served by the social safety net," Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, said in a statement released late June 22. "It is precisely the detrimental impact on the poor and vulnerable that makes the Senate draft unacceptable as written."

Bishop Dewane criticized the "per-capita cap" on Medicaid funding, which would no longer be an entitlement but have its own budget line item under the Better Care Reconciliation Act. The effect, he said, "would provide even less to those in need than the House bill. These changes will wreak havoc on low-income families and struggling communities, and must not be supported."

"An acceptable health care system provides access to all, regardless of their means, and at all stages of life," Bishop Dewane said. "Such a health care system must protect conscience rights, as well as extend to immigrant families."

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