Peace & Justice Commission Statement Regarding the Better Care Reconciliation Act

June 27, 2017
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

ST. LOUIS - The Peace & Justice Commission of the Archdiocese of St. Louis released the following statement regarding the Better Care Reconciliation Act:

Christ reminds us that we serve Him directly when we care for the sick and the needy: ..." For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me...." [Matthew 25:35-36].

The Senate is considering legislation which will profoundly affect health care delivery to all Americans. A positive element of the Better Care Reconciliation Act is that it recognizes that abortion is not health care by attempting to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortion or plans that cover it. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) this would correct a flaw in the current Affordable Care Act by fully applying the longstanding and widely-supported Hyde Amendment protections.

However, it is also anticipated that this Act will decrease support to Medicaid, which provides medical coverage for low-income persons, many of whom are children or the elderly. Those with pre-existing medical conditions could lose the protections that formerly enabled them to obtain affordable healthcare. In the coming years, it is estimated that 22 million people will lose their health insurance under this Act according to the Congressional Budget Office.

As Catholics, we are called to advocate for the poor and the powerless in our midst. In their response to the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the USCCB notes "...It is precisely the detrimental impact on the poor and vulnerable that makes the Senate draft unacceptable as written. An acceptable health care system provides access to all, regardless of their means, and at all stages of life...." Furthermore, the Act fails to put into place conscience protections for all those involved in the health care system.

The Peace and Justice Commission stands with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and people of good will across this country in who are working to address this critical issue. We invite everyone to join with us in prayer that our legislators reflect on the harmful effects that the Act would impose on those our faith requires us to protect and we ask them to responsibly make the changes necessary to protect the poor and the powerless.