Catholic Conference of Ohio
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Issues - Catholic Conference of Ohio

Current Legislation

U.S. Bishops Chairman Responds To Defeat Of GOP "Skinny Repeal” Bill

"The greatness of our country is not measured by the well-being of the powerful but how we have cared for the 'least of these.'"

In response to the Senate vote on the "skinny repeal" bill, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued the following statement:

"Despite the Senate's decision not to pass legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last night, the task of reforming the healthcare system still remains. The current healthcare system is not financially sustainable, lacks full Hyde protections and conscience rights, and is inaccessible to many immigrants. Inaction will result in harm for too many people.

A moment has opened for Congress, and indeed all Americans, to set aside party and personal political interest and pursue the common good of our nation and its people, especially the most vulnerable. In order to be just, any bill for consideration must:

Protect the Medicaid program from changes that would harm millions of struggling Americans.

Protect the safety net from any other changes that harm the poor, immigrants, or any others at the margins.

Address the real probability of collapsing insurance markets and the corresponding loss of genuine affordability for those with limited means. 

Provide full Hyde Amendment provisions and much-needed conscience protections.

Any final agreement that respects human life and dignity, honors conscience rights, and ensures that everyone can access health care that is comprehensive, high quality, and truly affordable deserves the support of all of us.

The greatness of our country is not measured by the well-being of the powerful but how we have cared for the 'least of these.'  Congress can and should pass health care legislation that lives up to that greatness."

Statement

House Budget Resolution Places Poor in Jeopardy Says U.S. Bishops Chairman

Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development expressed concern

“The USCCB is closely monitoring the budget and appropriations process in Congress and is analyzing the proposed House budget resolution in more detail.  It is clearly noted at the outset that the proposal assumes the harmful and unacceptable cuts to Medicaid from the American Health Care Act.  Additionally, steady increases to military spending in the resolution are made possible by cutting critical resources for those in need over time, including potentially from important programs like SNAP that provide essential nutrition to millions of people. The bipartisan approach to discretionary spending in recent years, while imperfect, reflected a more balanced compromise given competing priorities. 

A nation’s budget is a moral document.  Reducing deficits through cuts for human needs—while simultaneously attempting a tax cut, as this proposal does—will place millions of poor and vulnerable people in real jeopardy.  Congress should choose a better path, one that honors those struggling in our country.”

More

Revised Senate Health Care Reform Bill Still “Unacceptable,” Says U.S. Bishops Chairman

Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development Responds

The USCCB is reviewing carefully the health care bill introduced by Senate leadership on July 13, 2017. On an initial read, we do not see enough improvement to change our assessment that the proposal is unacceptable. We recognize the incremental improvement in funding the fight against opioid addiction, for instance, but more is needed to honor our moral obligation to our brothers and sisters living in poverty and to ensure that essential protections for the unborn remain in the bill."

July 13, 2017 USCCB Statement by Bishop Dewane

House Does Not Override Governor Kasich's Veto of the Medicaid Enrollment Freeze

House leaves open their option to reconsider this provision through 2018

The Catholic Conference of Ohio commends House members for not overriding Governor Kasich's veto of the State budget provision that would  freeze enrollment in the Medicaid Expansion Program

The State Budget bill, approved by the Ohio GA,  proposed to freeze enrollment in the Medicaid Expansion Program starting July 1, 2018. Governor Kasich vetoed this provision.  The Ohio House met on Thursday, July 6, 2017 and opted not to bring up this provision for an override vote.

Because of our concern for the poor and vulnerable, the Catholic Conference of Ohio encouraged House members not to freeze enrollment in the Medicaid Expansion Program.

The Catholic Bishops of Ohio have consistently insisted that access to decent health care is a basic safeguard of human life and an affirmation of human dignity from conception until natural death. Medicaid serves the most vulnerable.  It is a vital safety net that offers health care coverage to Ohio's low-income children, parents, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities, serious mental illness, and drug addiction. Our Catholic hospitals, nursing homes, mental health, and developmental disabilities programs effectively and responsibly utilize and depend on reimbursement from the Medicaid Expansion Program.

The House may decide to reconsider this provision anytime before December 31, 2018.

Senate Passes Legislation Prohibiting Dismemberment Abortions

Senator Lehner issues powerful floor speech

The Catholic Conference of Ohio testified that the proposed ban on dilation and evacuation abortions (SB 145)  is another important step in protecting unborn life. Dismemberment abortions are particularly gruesome.

The Catholic Church’s teaching concerning abortion is well known. We hold that every child, at every moment of existence, deserves love and the protection of the law. We do not believe any person or government has the right to take the life of an innocent human being – and we hold that the real problems that lead women to consider abortion should be addressed with solutions that support both mother and child. 

Full Testimony

Ohio Bishops Oppose the Denial of Workers' Compensation to Undocumented Workers

Conference staff provides testimony urging provision to be removed from pending legislation.

Background:

The Ohio House recently passed Workers’ Compensation legislation (HB 27) that includes a provision prohibiting undocumented workers from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ Compensation is funded by employers as an insurance policy which provides medical and compensation benefits for work-related injuries, diseases and deaths.

Bishops Statement:

The Catholic Bishops of Ohio are opposed to the denial of workers’ compensation benefits to undocumented workers.

We have consistently called for meaningful immigration reform. In our April 2017 letter to Congress, we, again, called upon elected officials to address our country’s broken immigration system through a comprehensive reform that improves security and creates more legal and transparent paths to immigration.

We do not condone unauthorized entry into the United States.  Yet, once undocumented immigrants are here and working, their human dignity itself should guarantee basic compensation and protections for the work they provide.

In our Catholic teaching, work is first and foremost the very expression of the human person in the world and participation in God’s creation.  When someone engages in work for an employer, that person should receive just remuneration and just worker protections. Respecting a person’s human dignity should remain paramount. (Pope St. John Paul II, Laborem Exercens, nos. 6, 19, 23)

Workers’ compensation is an insurance policy that the employer pays in recognition of the worker’s labor. It provides medical and compensation benefits for work-related injuries, diseases and deaths. It should be available to all workers regardless of their legal status. Denying workers’ compensation to undocumented workers may result in more abuses by unscrupulous employers to this already often exploited population.

Bishops Statement (PDF)
Catholic Conference of Ohio Testimony
Links on Immigration Reform

U.S. Bishop Chairmen Provide Senate With Moral Principles For Health Care Reform

As the U.S. Senate begins to discuss health care reform, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin provided moral principles to help guide policymakers in their deliberations.

In a letter sent on June 1, the Chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stressed the "grave obligations" that Senators have "when it comes to policy that affects health care." While commending the bill passed by the House of Representatives, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), for its protections for unborn children, the Bishops emphasized the "many serious flaws" in the AHCA, including unacceptable changes to Medicaid. 

Full Statement

Catholic Poverty–Response Organizations Issue Action Alerts regarding the Proposed Federal Budget

Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Relief Services concerned over proposed cuts to human services

Catholic Charities USA Action Alert

 

 

 

Catholic Relief Services Action Alert

Chairmen from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Raise Concerns over Proposed Federal Budget

The moral measure of the federal budget is how well it promotes the common good of all, especially the most vulnerable

President Trump's proposed budget calls for a sharp increase in military spending while making significant cuts across much of the rest of government, including reductions in many long-standing federal programs that assist the poor and vulnerable.

In letters to both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, the bishops reaffirmed the federal budget as a moral document containing profound implications for the common good of our nation and world. The letter states that the "budget requires difficult decisions that ought to be guided by moral criteria that protect human life and dignity, give central importance to 'the least of these' (Matthew 25), and promote the welfare of workers and families who struggle to live in dignity."

"Sharp increases in defense and immigration enforcement spending, coupled with simultaneous and severe reductions to non-defense discretionary spending, particularly to many domestic and international programs that assist the most vulnerable, would be profoundly troubling.  Such deep cuts would pose a threat to the security of our nation and world, and would harm people facing dire circumstances. When the impact of other potential legislative proposals, including health care and tax policies, are taken into account, the prospects for vulnerable people become even bleaker." 

The letter was signed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, Chairman, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Bishop George V. Murry, SJ, of Youngstown, Chairman, Committee on Catholic Education, Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, of Burlington, Chairman, Committee on Communications, and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman, Committee on Migration. 

The full text of the letter sent to the U.S. Senate/U.S. House of Representatives is available at:  

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/federal-budget/letter-to-congress-on-fy-2018-federal-budget-2017-05-19.cfm

U.S. Bishops Chairman Calls On Senate To Strip Harmful Proposals From House-Passed Health Care Bill

American Health Care Act still contains major defects

After the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called on the Senate to strip out the harmful provisions of the bill when the chamber takes it up for consideration.

"Even with efforts to improve the bill before passage, the American Health Care Act still contains major defects, particularly regarding changes to Medicaid that risk coverage and affordability for millions; it is deeply disappointing that the voices of those who will be most severely impacted were not heeded," said Bishop Dewane. "The AHCA does offer critical life protections, and our health care system desperately needs these safeguards. But still, vulnerable people must not be left in poor and worsening circumstances as Congress attempts to fix the current and impending problems with the Affordable Care Act."

Full Statement
Statement of Concern by the Catholic Health Association
Statement of Concern by Catholic Charities USA

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