Bishops urge Congress to fix health law flaws after high court decision
Published: June 28, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. Supreme Court's June 28 decision upholding the health reform law makes it even more urgent for Congress to act to fix the law's "fundamental flaws" on abortion funding, conscience protection and immigrants' access to health care, the U.S. bishops said. The court found that although the individual mandate in the 2010 health reform law does not pass constitutional muster under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, it can be upheld as an acceptable exercise of Congress' taxing powers. In a 65-page opinion announced by Chief Justice John Roberts, five members of the court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in full but limited the federal government's right to withhold its share of Medicaid funding from states that do not expand the health program for the low-income and disabled as mandated by the law. "The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has not joined in efforts to repeal the law in its entirety, and we do not do so today," said a USCCB news release issued shortly after the decision. "The decision of the Supreme Court neither diminishes the moral imperative to ensure decent health care for all, nor eliminates the need to correct (the law's) fundamental flaws." Sister Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, said she was pleased that the health care law "has been found constitutional and will remain in effect." The Daughter of Charity noted that CHA had submitted friend-of-the-court briefs urging the court to find in favor of the individual mandate and the Medicaid expansion. "In the coming weeks and months, we will continue working closely with our members, Congress and the administration to implement the ACA as fairly and effectively as possible," she added. However, CHA has agreed with the bishops in urging the government to expand its definition of religious employers who are exempt from the requirement to provide contraceptives and sterilization free of charge to their employees.
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