May 10, 2017

Sisters of Charity statement about the American Health Care Act legislation

The Sisters of Charity Health System firmly believes that families and communities are stronger when everyone has access to quality, affordable health care. We are deeply disappointed with last week’s vote in the House of Representatives to narrowly approve legislation that threatens the health coverage millions of Americans have gained through the Affordable Care Act. In addition, the proposed restructuring and cuts to Medicaid in the American Health Care Act will have devastating consequences for the many poor and vulnerable populations who rely on the program. The most recent amendments to the bill did nothing to alleviate those concerns, and in fact have made the legislation even more troubling by jeopardizing important protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

Knowing that our two Catholic hospitals—St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center—serve as a vital safety nets for the underserved, we are reminded daily of the importance of health care coverage for all Ohioans. Insurance coverage can be the difference between life and death. This bill threatens to cut coverage and access to care for 1 million Ohio residents who have secured coverage through the federal exchange and expanded Medicaid eligibility for our poor neighbors. Additionally, this bill jeopardizes coverage and access to care for an estimated 57,000 Ohioans with pre-existing conditions.

Our state leads the nation in opioid deaths and ranks poorly in several population health indicators. If we are to have a healthy Ohio, policymakers must protect our families’ access to affordable, comprehensive coverage, while preserving a safety net for vulnerable residents.

As this legislation moves now to the Senate, the Sisters of Charity Health System will work with many national partners, including the Catholic Health Association of the United States, to continue to work with lawmakers to address these issues. And, on behalf of those we serve in Catholic health care, we will continue to advocate for a health care system in which accessible and affordable health coverage is available for everyone.

Sincerely,

Thomas J. Strauss
President & CEO
Sisters of Charity Health System 

Sr. Judith Ann Karam, CSA
Board Chair, CSA Health System Ministries
Congregational Leader, Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine

 

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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