Healthcare

‘Simply immoral and not pro-life’: Over 7,000 Catholic nuns slam the GOP’s healthcare bill

If the latest polls showing support for the GOP’s health care plan at just 15 percent aren’t enough to convince Republicans of the bill’s problems, then thousands of Catholic nuns speaking out agains the bill just might.

In an open letter this Monday, 7150 Catholic Sisters slammed the bill as “immoral” and called on members of the Senate to cast a “life-affirming”vote against it.

“The BCRA [Better Care Reconciliation Act] would end the Medicaid program as we know it by taking lifesaving healthcare away from millions,” The letter said. “The BCRA takes hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid and gives it to the very wealthiest individuals and corporations in the form of tax breaks. This is simply immoral and contrary to the teachings of our Catholic faith.”

The letter was organized by NETWORK, a Catholic social justice group led by Sister Simone Campbell, who’s become a leading voice for progressive causes. She was the leader of the Nuns on a Bus group, which came out in support of Obamacare in 2010.

“To cut Medicaid and take healthcare from millions of people is not a pro-life stance,” the letter continued. “We urge you to be mindful of the needs of all of our people and the call to the common good.”

You can read the letter’s full text below:

Dear Senators:

We, more than 7,000 Catholic Sisters in the United States, write to urge you to cast a lifeaffirming
“no” vote against the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). We have many concerns
with this bill, but we are most troubled by the cuts it would make to Medicaid by ending the
Medicaid expansion and instituting a per capita cap. Our faith urges us to care for all people and
all of creation, especially the most vulnerable. The BCRA would be the most harmful legislation
for American families in our lifetimes, and it goes against our Catholic faith teaching.

As Pope Francis teaches, “health is not a consumer good, but a universal right, so access to
health services cannot be a privilege.” Responding to this integral part of our faith, many of our
religious congregations founded hospitals and hospital systems in the United States. Other
congregations sponsor clinics and various services for people on the economic margins. The
passage of this bill would cause far more suffering than we could possibly attend to through
charity. For this reason we are speaking out.

As Catholic women religious, we have witnessed firsthand the moral crisis of lack of
quality, affordable healthcare in this country. We have seen early and avoidable deaths because
of lack of insurance, prohibitive costs, and lack of access to quality care. We fought for the
expansion of coverage in the Affordable Care Act because we saw the life-giving value of crucial
healthcare programs such as Medicaid. This program covers over 70 million Americans, including
children, pregnant women (and nearly half of all births in this country), people with disabilities,
people struggling to get by, and senior citizens. Further, some of our fellow women religious rely
on Medicaid in nursing homes when we can no longer care for our sisters at home.

The BCRA would end the Medicaid program as we know it by taking lifesaving healthcare
away from millions. The BCRA takes hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid and gives it to the very wealthiest individuals and corporations in the form of tax breaks. This is simply
immoral and contrary to the teachings of our Catholic faith. Jesus teaches that “whatever you
did for one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for me.” Our response should not be to
take healthcare away from the most vulnerable by cutting and capping Medicaid.

To cut Medicaid and take healthcare from millions of people is not a pro-life stance. We
urge you to be mindful of the needs of all of our people and the call to the common good. Vote no
on the BCRA.

Sincerely,

7,150 Catholic sisters from all 50 states and the District of Columbia [.]

Featured image via Global Sisters Report

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