KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Major Catholic Health Group Supports Democrats’ Health Reform

Catholic World: ''Breaking with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the president of the Catholic Health Association has endorsed the Senate health care reform legislation that is scheduled to be voted on by the House of Representatives this week."

"As I watched our president present his plan to pass the health reform legislation, it was clear this is an historic opportunity to make great improvements in the lives of so many Americans,' writes Sister Carol Keehan. 'Is it perfect? No. Does it cover everyone? No. But is it a major first step? Yes. The insurance reforms will make the lives of millions more secure, and their coverage more affordable,' she continues" (3/15).

The Associated Press: "The association's support widens a split among abortion foes on whether the bill goes far enough to prevent taxpayer funding for the procedure. House Democratic leaders are trying to turn that debate to their advantage as they press for a vote on Obama's bill as early as this coming week. Winning over even a handful of anti-abortion Democrats could help Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., find a clear path to the 216 votes she needs for passage" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 3/13).

Rapid City [S.D.] Journal: "Whether or not the current Senate version of health reform prohibits the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions as effectively as the now-defunct House version did depends on whom you ask. Anti-abortion Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., along with Bishop Blase Cupich of Rapid City and the rest of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, are adamant that the Senate's wording is unacceptable to abortion opponents because it doesn't offer the same financial wall between the abortion-coverage insurance premiums paid by individuals and the federal funds used to help low-income people buy health insurance."

"Others disagree. 'I actually think the Senate bill will more effectively prohibit federal funds from going to abortion,' said Stephen Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at Catholic University of America in Washington" (3/15).

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