US Bishops: Reject GOP Attack on Social Safety Net, ‘Devastating’ Medicaid Cuts

via the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB):

The BCRA’s restructuring of Medicaid will adversely impact those already in deep health poverty. At a time when tax cuts that would seem to benefit the wealthy and increases in other areas of federal spending, such as defense, are being contemplated, placing a “per capita cap” on medical coverage for the poor is unconscionable. The BCRA also connects yearly increases to formulas that would provide even less to those in need than the House bill. The Congressional Budget Office’s analysis indicates that an additional 22 million people will be without insurance over time. This loss of coverage will be devastating….

All people need and should have access to comprehensive, quality health care. Unfortunately, the Senate bill does not provide access for all people which is truly within their means. In many places, older and lower-income people will pay more than under current law because of decreased levels of tax credit support and higher premiums. Immigrants need quality care as well, but their access is not improved in the BCRA….

The Bishops value language currently in the legislation recognizing that abortion is not health care by attempting to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortion or plans that cover it. Safeguards pertaining to the use of tax credits for plans that include abortion face steep challenges in the coming days. Even as is, the bill needs to be strengthened to fully apply the longstanding and widely-supported Hyde amendment protections….

Removing vital coverage for those most in need is not the answer to our nation’s health care problems, and doing so will not help us build toward the common good. For the sake of persons living on the margins of our health care system, we call on the Senate to reject changes intended to fundamentally alter the social safety net for millions of people.