Affordable Care and Protection: Substance, not Politics

Morna Murray: “Two Senators – one pro-life and one pro-choice – Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced an amendment based upon the Pregnant Women Support Act (a bill introduced by Senator Casey), which was included and appropriated by the ACA (meaning it was automatically funded upon passage of the law).  This is extremely rare – typically a law must go through a rigorous appropriations process, and often is severely defunded or even dismantled.  The Pregnant Women Support Act was renamed the Pregnancy Assistance Fund when housed at the Health and Human Services Administration.  Seventeen states and 13 Indian tribes received 3-year funding in 2010 to find innovative ways to help pregnant women and teens get good prenatal care and maintain healthy pregnancies while continuing their education, obtaining job skills, getting housing or childcare assistance, receiving protection from domestic abuse, among other vital avenues of assistance.  In other words, a pro-life Senator and a pro-choice Senator came together to agree upon much-needed assistance for vulnerable pregnant women and teens who wanted to continue their pregnancies and give their children the best chance possible.  This was codified into law and actually funded, for $250 million over 10 years, with passage of the ACA.”

The Real Winners

Paul Krugman: “How many people are we talking about? You might say 30 million, the number of additional people the Congressional Budget Office says will have health insurance thanks to Obamacare. But that vastly understates the true number of winners because millions of other Americans — including many who oppose the act — would have been at risk of being one of those 30 million.

So add in every American who currently works for a company that offers good health insurance but is at risk of losing that job (and who isn’t in this world of outsourcing and private equity buyouts?); every American who would have found health insurance unaffordable but will now receive crucial financial help; every American with a pre-existing condition who would have been flatly denied coverage in many states.

In short, unless you belong to that tiny class of wealthy Americans who are insulated and isolated from the realities of most people’s lives, the winners from that Supreme Court decision are your friends, your relatives, the people you work with — and, very likely, you. For almost all of us stand to benefit from making America a kinder and more decent society.”

DFLA's Steve Schneck on Supreme Court’s healthcare decision

Steve Schneck: “What might Catholics think about the Supreme Court’s narrow vindication of the basic features of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? Like many Catholic progressives, I shouted out two big cheers. But, I can’t quite yet raise that loud third cheer. The court’s decision wonderfully affirms the act’s basic provisions. And those provisions can get America close to the dream that the institutional Catholic Church has long promoted —government-assured, universal health care for all. So, two boisterous Catholic cheers!

Why not a third cheer? Because despite nearly a year’s hard efforts, faith-based groups and the Obama administration have not been able to hammer out the critical last tweaks on exemptions needed by religious organizations in regard to the ACA’s contraception mandate. With the momentum and enthusiasm from the court’s vindication, let’s put shoulders to the wheel and roll out those needed tweaks now.”

Democrats for Life Comment on the Contraception Mandate

Thomas Berg: “Democrats for Life have filed a comment in the latest round of the contraception-mandate dispute, arguing that the administration’s proposed compromise is inadequate and conscience protection must be expanded.  (I sit on DFL’s board, as many know, and contributed to the analysis in the comment.)  The comment focus attention on two points: (1) the especially serious conscience problems posed by medications that may reasonably be thought to cause abortions of new embryos in some cases, and (2) the bad precedent set by inserting HHS’s narrow definition of “religious employer” into federal law.”

Germans Can't Fathom Opposition to Universal Healthcare in the US

Spiegel Online: “As the United States Supreme Court considers whether requiring people to have health insurance is unconstitutional, Germans are bewildered as to why so many Americans appear to be against universal coverage.  They also question the continued portrayal of US President Barack Obama and his health reform backers as socialists and communists, noting that healthcare was introduced in Germany in the 19th century by Otto von Bismarck, who was definitely not a leftist, and is supported by conservative and pro-business politicians today.

“It’s a solidarity principle,” says Ann Marini, a spokesperson for the National Health Insurers Association. “Not every ‘S’ automatically means socialism.”  Marini and others say that mandated coverage is something that is simply not questioned in Germany. Furthermore, even the most pro-market politicians wouldn’t dare to dismantle the country’s health insurance system.”

Down Syndrome, Alzheimer’s, and a Culture of Life

Cathleen Kaveny: “The negative prohibition–do not kill — is a necessary floor in moral thinking. But for the very vulnerable, including the physically and mentally impaired, it is by no means sufficient. The vulnerable, young and old, need positive assistance if they are to thrive.  And no average family can meet the challenges of Alzheimer’s Disease –with or without Down syndrome– on its own.

It doesn’t just take a village.  It takes a nation.  It takes the common good.”