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Pizza, Pop and Politics’ discussion centers on health care

Emily Schrank | Thursday, October 28, 2010

Heading into the 2010 midterm elections, health care is a front and center issue, said Kathy Saile, director of Domestic Policy for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Saile said Wednesday that the USCCB believes the health care bill should be passed. She spoke during the fourth installment of the “Pizza, Pop and Politics” series.

“There have been a lot of cries for repeal, but the Bishops’ believe we need to support this bill now more than ever,” she said. “However, there are some things that need to be fixed so that it becomes a more moral bill.”

USCCB has focused on three moral criteria in their push for health care reform, which include respect for life and conscience, affordability for the poor and access to much-needed basic health care for immigrants, Saile said.

“Politically, the USCCB was one of the only pro-life organizations that supported health care reform,” she said. “That really kept as the table when the bill was being debated and discussed.”

She said the USCCB came to an agreement with pro-life Democrats that health care would not be used for the federal funding of abortions.

“The bill had to be fixed so that we could honestly say it didn’t provide for federal funding of abortions,” she said. “In the very end, the Rules Committee voted to allow one amendment, the Stupak amendment, which made that statement true.”

While the USCCB recognizes that the bill would provide quality and affordable access to health care, there still are some issues, Saile said.

“Immigrants would still most significantly be left out of health care,” she said. “Even legal immigrants are somewhat cut out.”

Saile said much of the health care bill has yet to be written.

“A great deal of the bill uses the phrase, ‘the secretary shall,’ which means there isn’t a set policy in place,” she said. “It is important to continue to monitor what is going on with health care in the United States.”

Bishops in the United States have been talking about the need for accessible and affordable health care throughout the 20th century, Saile said.

“Health care is a moral issue and something that everyone, created in the image and likeness of God, has a right to,” she said. “And that message has been constant in the USCCB’s teachings.”