(CHAMN) Statement: Forming the Health Care Exchange with a priority for Accessible and Affordable Health Care for Everyone

CHA logoA statement issued by the Catholic Health Association of Minnesota outlining principles for the Health Insurance Exchange as well as the potential coverage issues and conscience clauses.

THE ISSUE
As a matter of human dignity, everyone is entitled to health care. Like any basic element of life, health care sustains us and should always be accessible and affordable for everyone — where they need it, when they need it, no exceptions and no interruptions. Unfortunately, in the wealthiest and most resourceful nation on earth, millions of people have no health insurance coverage of any kind and are often marginalized from a system that should protect and heal them.

Currently there are 9.5 % of Minnesotans uninsured, and beginning in 2014 the ACA law will reduce these ranks largely by expanding Medicaid and providing state and federal subsidies to help more Americans buy private coverage in a state based exchange.

The uninsured situation is even worse for people in minority communities, in which a disproportionately high number of people do not have health insurance coverage. The consequences of being uninsured are significant. This is particularly true for children, who are less likely to receive proper preventative care and treatment for common childhood illnesses. Because they do not receive the right care in the right place, uninsured patients are up to four times as likely as insured patients to require avoidable hospitalizations and emergency care.

CHA Minnesota remains optimistic about the prospects for state level reform and is committed to leading and participating in the dialogue on this critical issue.

MINISTRY TRADITION
Our mission, in accordance with Catholic social teaching and values, calls us to serve as advocates for all, particularly the poor and other vulnerable populations. We believe that health care is a basic human right. To that end, health care should be considered an essential building block for a just and free society, just as education is. As the Catholic health ministry, we are committed to moving toward a more just and equitable health care system that ensures health care for everyone.

CHA’S POSITION AND ACTIVITIES
CHA Minnesota specifically advocates:

Coverage Expansions:

  • Covering All Children — CHA Minnesota supports the state ensuring that all children have health care.
  • Low-income Individuals — CHA Minnesota supports the early expansion of the Medicaid program to include all low-income individuals.
  • Strengthening the Safety Net — CHA Minnesota supports initiatives that recognize the full spectrum of care for the uninsured provided by integrated health care systems. Because of our belief in the dignity of all, this system should not discriminate based upon immigration status.
  • Health care should promote life and health-policies that promote abortion, euthanasia or other acts that undermine the dignity of the human person must not be included in state health care programs.
  • Other Measures for Expansion — CHA Minnesota welcomes other proposals to ensure that all currently uninsured individuals would have access to coverage, including measures to allow buy-ins to public health programs; refundable and advanceable tax credits for the purchase of private insurance; federal grants to states to provide coverage for high-risk populations; and encouragement of a Basic Health Plan and other innovative ideas.
  • Health Care Reform
    CHA Minnesota has consistently supported principled health care reform derived from our core values: human dignity; concern for the poor and vulnerable; justice; common good; stewardship; and pluralism.

    • Principles For Health Care Reform
      • Available and accessible to everyone, paying special attention to the poor and vulnerable;
      • Health and prevention oriented, with the goal of enhancing the health status of communities;
      • Sufficiently and fairly financed;
      • Transparent and consensus-driven, in allocation of resources, and organized for cost-effective care and administration;
      • Patient centered, and designed to address health needs at all stages of life, from conception to natural death;
      • Safe, effective and designed to deliver the greatest possible Quality; and
      • Protect the conscience rights of patients, health care professionals, and institutions.

 

Toby Pearson, Executive Director
Catholic Health Association of Minnesota