On Oct. 20, there had still been no word on when the bill — which also aims to provide states flexibility to skirt some requirements of the health care law — might come to the Senate floor for a vote.
The nation’s system under the Affordable Care Act “is not financially sustainable” and “lacks full Hyde protections and conscience rights.” It also “is inaccessible to many immigrants,” said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.
When the vice president has to cast a vote to break a tie in the Senate on whether to debate U.S. health care policy, let alone revise it — as Mike Pence did July 25 — it is obvious that passing legislation to repeal, and/or replace, and/or reform the Affordable Care Act is going to be a heavy lift in Congress.
U.S. senators must reject any bill that would replace the Affordable Care Act unless such a measure “protects poor and vulnerable people, including immigrants, safeguards the unborn and supports conscience rights,” said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ domestic policy committee.
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 nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, in its analysis of the Senate health care bill, said late June 26 the measure would leave 22 million more people without insurance.
The chairmen of four U.S. Catholic bishops’ committees urged senators to live up to their “grave obligation” to make sure their health care reform bill respected life, provided access to adequate health care “for all” and was “truly affordable” with the unveiling of the Senate bill three weeks ago.
The American Health Care Act that passed by a four-vote margin May 4 in the House has “major defects,” said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Social Development.
The House passed a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act by a four-vote margin May 4. The final vote was 217-213.