The Sisters of Charity Health System joins the Catholic Health Association of the United States in asking Congress to contact President Biden to push for inclusion of important health and social needs policies in the reconciliation package being negotiated with Congress.
The forthcoming Build Back Better legislation presents a historic opportunity to truly aid the most marginalized in our country by providing resources to the elderly, working families, children, immigrants and low-income, minority and rural populations who need support in the face of challenges posed by the pandemic and ongoing inequality and poverty.
Catholic health providers have long tried to address problems of chronic illness, poverty, disparities, environmental dangers and other social determinants of health that impact the lives of people and communities nationwide. We urge Congress and President Biden to keep provisions that address these issues as negotiations with Congress continue.
Please ask your members of Congress to contact President Biden to ensure these important measures below are included in a final legislative package.
These provisions include:
Advance important health coverage policies
We ask for advancing important health coverage policies to extend the Affordable Care Act
(ACA) Marketplace premium and cost-sharing tax subsidies and the income cap on premiums made under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA); close the “Medicaid Coverage Gap” for over 2 million uninsured, very low-income adults (those under 100% of the Federal Poverty Level), who live in the 12 Medicaid non-expansion states; permanently extend Medicaid postpartum coverage for mothers for a full year; and increase federal funding for Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) to ensure the elderly and those living with disabilities have the support they need.
Support policies to aid front-line health workers and increase the workforce
We ask for support of policies that aid our front-line providers and invest in the well-being of staff through support for increasing the health care workforce; provide for policies that aid our rural health providers; permanently expand the use of telehealth; and ensure that our hospitals, long-term care facilities and health care organizations have the resources to retain health care staff due to ongoing labor shortages.
Fund important public health initiatives that advance health equity
We ask to include funding for important public health initiatives that advance health equity by devoting critical resources for public health preparedness; reduce racial and ethnic health disparities in maternal care, mental health, and environmental threats from climate change; align federal assistance programs for immigrants with those of the ACA and ensure affordable housing.
Advocate for immigration reform
Lastly, we ask for continuing to advocate immigration reform by providing a pathway to lawful permanent status for certain immigrants including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status program participants, if not in the reconciliation bill then through vigorous support for the American Dream and Promise Act.
As Catholic health care providers, we are committed to reducing health disparities, promoting health equity, protecting life and conscience, and ensuring that everyone in our nation has access to affordable health care and coverage. Following the challenges of the last 20 months, we hope that you will not only ensure the necessary resources to help our communities recover from the pandemic are provided, but also approve forward-thinking and transformative policies to benefit those living on the margins of society and our nation. We thank you for your leadership on behalf of all the communities we are privileged to serve.
We urge Congress to contact President Biden to push for inclusion of important health and social needs policies in the reconciliation package being negotiated with Congress. A sample letter (email) for your advocacy outreach is available here on e-Advocacy.
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