Catholic’s going after Medicaid expansion

First, I’m not a Catholic.

Second, let’s hear it for the Catholic Church!

Back in April the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to Congress opposing cuts in program funding for the poor such as Medicaid.  In August, Father Stephen Umhoefer, Paul Ryan’s family pastor for a number of years, revealed his worry over VP candidate’s budget proposal that would cut funding for Medicaid-something Father Umhoefer believes is would be “inconsistent with Catholic teachings.”

Yesterday the President of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Sister Pat Farrell signed onto a letter encouraging governors to expand Medicaid in their states as allowed under Obamacare.  Most American nuns are members of the Conference.

The Catholic Church believes in the shared responsibility we all have for making sure that there is an adequate safety net for the less fortunate.  Medicaid that provides access to healthcare is part of that safety net that the Bishops, Father Umhoefer and the nuns do not want to see cut by Ryan’s budget and instead expanded in the states under Obamacare.

Enter South Carolina’s director of Health and Human Services Tony Keck who, like his boss South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, opposes expanding Medicaid even if the Federal government pays for it for several years.

In a blog posted on September 6th in the well-respected online journal “Health Affairs, Mr. Keck partially justifies Governor Haley’s opposition to expanding Medicaid saying, “she does so because she believes that its version of expansion will ultimately hurt the poor….”

I don’t know if Mr. Keck is a religious man and we read that Governor Haley, Sikh turned Methodist, attends church.  But while these two rightfully should be concerned about government policy, their combined credentials for having hands-on experience with the poor pales in comparison with those in the Catholic Church. 

So let’s not hear some “we know better” (or “holier than thou”) comments about how providing low income uninsured with access to healthcare is somehow bad for the poor.  If South Carolina officials don’t like the way it is delivered under Medicaid, take the Federal money and ask for permission to make systemic changes in how the healthcare will be delivered.  They’ll probably get a positive response from the Feds and definitely a thumbs up from the Catholic Church (and maybe even from someone at a higher level).

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