Senator Amy Klobuchar
1200 Washington Avenue South, Room 250
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Dear Senator Klobuchar:
October 13, 2022
Peace be with you. We write in the hope that you will communicate to President Biden and his administration the shared concerns of our organizations about the proposed non-discrimination rules being considered for adoption pursuant to Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.
We believe that the proposed rules 1) mandate that Catholic healthcare providers offer services that they do not consider to be healthcare, particularly abortion and sex transition therapies; and 2) insufficiently protect conscience rights and religious freedom of workers and institutions. We hope you will encourage President Biden and his administration to modify the proposed rulemaking as outlined in the attached memoranda from our two national partner organizations.
As both attached memoranda make clear, we strongly support non-discrimination principles in healthcare. Catholic healthcare providers serve all people, not because they are Catholic, but because we are. Everyone should have access to healthcare, regardless of status or identity, including our undocumented brothers and sisters.
But we do not agree that all services sought by patients or provided by other healthcare professionals and institutions constitute authentic healthcare, nor do they promote health or human flourishing. Among those are abortion and sex (gender) transition treatments and procedures. Each memorandum describes in detail our objections to having to offer those services. Despite the prevalence of Catholic providers, there are plenty of other providers where persons can obtain those procedures.
The concerns expressed speak to the importance of protecting religious freedom and conscience rights in healthcare. Catholic healthcare is a ministry to the community. Religious freedom protects our freedom to serve the broader community. Without these important protections, Catholic healthcare would be in jeopardy, which could limit overall healthcare access. Our ability to offer healthcare consistent with our conscience should not be considered a privilege that we are granted based on the government's rules, but instead a welcome service we offer to the community for the common good.
Each memorandum also contains its own concerns unique to each organization, and we hope that you will give those consideration. One common provision in the rulemaking that each organization supports that we wish to highlight is the improved access to language assistance services for non-English speakers. 87 Fed. Reg. at 47852-56. Language barriers can be obstacles to effective care, and we hope that this provision will make all people better aware of available opportunities for language assistance. We hope you will express to the Biden Administration our support for this provision.
Please reach out to us with any questions. Thank you for your consideration and for your service to all Minnesotans.
Executive Director & General Counsel, Minnesota Catholic Conference
Executive Director, Catholic Health Association of Minnesota