Catholics United Endorses Senate Health Reform Bill; Calls for Affordability Improvements

Posted December 23, 2009

Membership Survey Reveals Overwhelming Support for Stronger Legislation

Catholics United today gave its endorsement to the Senate's health care reform plan, known as the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” As written, the legislation needs significant improvements in order to adequately provide quality affordable health care for all Americans. Despite these shortcomings, Catholics United believes passing the Senate bill is a necessary step toward reform that truly meets the needs of the uninsured.

Catholics United's endorsement came on the heels of an organizational survey which revealed that 71.6 percent of its members want the bill to move forward in the Senate. Despite support for final passage of the legislation, 71.7 percent of the online poll's 4,356 respondents believe that “the Senate bill does not provide adequate care for uninsured Americans.”

“Like many supporters of health care reform, our members are clearly disappointed with the Senate's failure to include a public option, expand Medicare coverage, or do enough to improve the general affordability of health insurance for low- and middle-income families,” said Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United. “We support final passage of the Senate bill, but call on negotiators from both houses of Congress to address these deficiencies in conference negotiations.”

The Senate is widely expected to pass its bill Thursday morning. In the coming weeks, a conference bill will be put to a final vote in the Senate and House of Representatives.

Nearly 80 percent of respondents to the Catholics United poll also expressed disagreement with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who oppose the Senate bill because they are not satisfied with its restrictions on abortion funding and coverage. According to survey results, 48.4 percent of Catholics United's membership believes that the Senate bill's abortion language is “too restrictive,” and 31.1 percent support the bill's current approach to abortion funding and coverage.

The full survey results can be found at http://www.catholics-united.org/health-care-poll-results.