The Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association (PCHA) and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) issued this statement today urging the governor and the General Assembly to consider expanding Medicaid eligibility:
The Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association (PCHA) and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) continue to support access to health care for all persons.
Our Catholic sponsored facilities have been providing health care to Pennsylvanians for more than 160 years with a special mission to serve the economically poor. They have historically faced daunting challenges in caring for those in need.
Today, unemployment and economic hardship has touched the lives of record numbers of families in Pennsylvania. One of the most devastating consequences of diminished income or losing a job is the loss of access to health care. Thousands of Pennsylvanians are uninsured. Our needs are great, but Pennsylvania’s resources are limited. We must make the most of what we do have to get us through these tough times.
PCHA and PCC acknowledge that reform increasing access to care is necessary. We also believe that states should have the independence and flexibility to use tax dollars for the greatest good. But we should not dismiss the opportunity to help Pennsylvanians today.
At this critical time, PCHA and PCC urge the governor and the General Assembly to consider expanding Medicaid eligibility as the Affordable Care Act allows, or explore options with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which would subsidize the purchase of private insurance for low income people. Expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania, or adopting another approach in cooperation with HHS, will ensure that thousands of low-income uninsured citizens will be able to access the health care they need now.
Our challenges in caring for those in need are still daunting. Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you.” We cannot ignore those who need help now while we strive to achieve long term health care solutions.
NOTE: The implementation of the Affordable Care Act has been overshadowed by another serious concern, the infringement of religious liberty by a mandate that religious employers fund and facilitate services such as contraceptives, abortion causing drugs, and sterilization that violate Catholic teaching and disregard of the conscience rights of for-profit business owners. Read more about the HHS mandate and learn how you can take action against it here.