February 12, 2020

Catholic Health Association releases statements on Medicaid Healthy Adult Opportunity Demonstration and Public Charge Rule

The Sisters of Charity Health System stands with the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) in strongly opposing two federal policies that will adversely impact access to health care for those who are most vulnerable—capped Medicaid funding and the public charge rule for immigrants. The CHA’s recent public statements are in response to an administration rule allowing states to accept Medicaid block grant (or capped) payments and in response to a court ruling on the “public charge rule” that will have the effect of discouraging individuals seeking citizenship to access public benefits such as Medicaid.

The full text of the two statements is below or available at the links above.

Joint Catholic Statement on the Medicaid Healthy Adult Opportunity (HAO) Demonstration

The Catholic Health Association of the United States, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Domestic Justice and Human Development Committee and Catholic Charities USA express our deep opposition to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ proposal to cap or block grant funding for the Medicaid expansion population.

It is unacceptable for the federal government to walk away from its shared commitment under the Medicaid program to ensure care for all low-income and vulnerable individuals in our country. As these individuals are the least able to afford health care, it is wrong to limit the federal financial contribution as well as allow low-income individuals to receive less coverage in the name of “flexibility”.

Catholic social teaching holds that each person is created in the image of God; that each human life is sacred and possesses inalienable worth; and that health care is essential to promoting and protecting the inherent dignity of every person. Ensuring access to health care is essential to human flourishing and we must especially protect low-income individuals and families.

The federal government must not encourage the capping of federal Medicaid dollars and allow major reductions in benefits and coverage for vulnerable individuals and families, as is spelled out in the “Healthy Adult Opportunity” demonstration. Eliminating the federal government’s shared commitment with the states under Medicaid will simply reduce federal payments and shift costs onto states, health providers, charitable organizations and beneficiaries. This is not the basis for a sound effort to improve the health of those in need but is instead a giant step backwards from the goal of accessible and affordable health care for all.

For additional information about block grants, read “The Risks of Capped Medicaid Funding.”

The Devastating Impact of Allowing the Public Charge Rule to Take Effect

Statement by Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM, President and Chief Executive Officer, Catholic Health Association of the United States

CHA is extremely disappointed with the U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing the Administration’s "public charge" rule to take effect while legal challenges to the rule are pending in the courts. As CHA stated when the rule was proposed and has made clear in court filings, the expanded definition of public charge will have a devastating impact on legal immigrants and their citizen family members. Losses of coverage of this magnitude will also adversely affect public health and health system costs.

Implementation of the public charge rule is expected to lead to millions of legally present immigrants and citizens, the majority of them children, losing their health coverage or choosing not to enroll. We have already begun to see the chilling effects of the rule with the number of uninsured children growing and increasing uncompensated care costs in hospitals and clinics.

Given the inevitable impact of this on the health of so many individuals and families as well as on our health care system, we believe that the injunctions preventing the implementation of the rule were appropriate. CHA will continue to explore all legal and legislative avenues to oppose this harmful rule.


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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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