USCCB Plea To Congress, Obama Administration To Repair Obamacare… er… ObamaTAX

Bishops Renew Plea To Congress And Administration To Repair Affordable Care Act

[My emphases and comments.]

June 28, 2012
Supreme Court decision does not address fundamental flaws in the law
Legislation still needed to fix conscience, abortion funding, immigration problems

WASHINGTON—Today the United States Supreme Court issued a decision upholding as a tax the provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires individuals to purchase a health plan—the so-called “individual mandate.”

For nearly a century, the Catholic bishops of the United States have been and continue to be consistent advocates for comprehensive health care reform to ensure access to life-affirming health care for all, especially the poorest and the most vulnerable. Although the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) did not participate in these cases and took no position on the specific questions presented to the Court, USCCB’s position on health care reform generally and on ACA particularly is a matter of public record. The bishops ultimately opposed final passage of ACA for several reasons.

[NB: 1)] First, ACA [Obamacare] allows use of federal funds to pay for elective abortions and for plans that cover such abortions, contradicting longstanding federal policy.  The risk we identified in this area has already materialized, particularly in the initial approval by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of “high risk” insurance pools that would have covered abortion.  [Sec. Kathleen Sebelius’ so-called “HHS mandate”]

[2] Second, the Act fails to include necessary language to provide essential conscience protection, both within and beyond the abortion context.We have provided extensive analyses of ACA’s defects with respect to both abortion and conscience. The lack of statutory conscience protections applicable to ACA’s new mandates has been illustrated in dramatic fashion by HHS’s “preventive services” mandate, which forces religious and other employers to cover sterilization and contraception, including abortifacient drugs. [Against the 1st Amendment.]

[3] Third, ACA fails to treat immigrant workers and their families fairly. ACA leaves them worse off by not allowing them to purchase health coverage in the new exchanges created under the law, even if they use their own money. This undermines the Act’s stated goal of promoting access to basic life-affirming health care for everyone, especially for those most in need.

Following enactment of ACA, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has not joined in efforts to repeal the law in its entirety, and we do not do so today. [Too bad.  We need a better approach.] The decision of the Supreme Court neither diminishes the moral imperative to ensure decent health care for all, nor eliminates the need to correct the fundamental flaws described above. We therefore continue to urge Congress to pass, and the Administration to sign, legislation to fix those flaws.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Johnno says:

    The Administration is determined not to fix the problems, so the Bishops’ pleas will fall on deaf ears. And it is apparent the Supreme Court doesn’t much care either. And considering the Republicans had their own similar health care intentions I don’t expect much opposition from them either. Socialized health care is coming whether the people want it or not. The American government intends to control the lives of its people through health care, and it intends to exercise control over all health care. Catholic controlled healthcare stands in their way, and it must be taken down, either it does what the Government wants like a good trained dog, or it must be coerced to hand itself over or destroy itself by leaving the playing field. The new Communist World Order demands it.

  2. CatholicByChoice says:

    Well, the Bishops statement is a disappointment to me. I was hoping for a rallying cry to action. I have been very supportive of their efforts, but now I think the Bishops are not showing much leadership or backbone. How do you rally a crowd around “we take no position?” Is the point to “wake up the sleeping giant” or to tuck the blankie under its chin and lull it back to sleep again?

  3. Fr. Frank says:

    As someone on another thread said, the bishops by and large got just what they prayed (and lobbied) for.

    Meanwhile, millions of U.S. Catholics couldn’t tell you the difference between a sacrament and a sack ‘o taters if their lives depended on it.

  4. Peggy R says:

    Bla, bla. I apologize for the disrespect.

    The USCCB got what they wanted. They are not troubled by today’s ruling at all.

  5. Microtouch says:

    They danced and continue to dance with the devil in hopes they will not have to go home alone.

  6. ceolfrid says:

    Fr. Frank,

    With respect, what I was referring to was the fact that the Bishops prayed for “religious liberty” which is, frankly (no pun intended), a condemned heresy. So, essentially, the Bishops prayed for God to uphold a heresy.

    This reminds me a little of that slogan, “The beatings will continue until morale improves”, except, in this case, it is more like “The beatings will continue until you start defending the Catholic Faith and not condemned errors.”

    And now, to make matters worse, the Bishops are pleading with the Congress and the Obama administration to “fix it”. Congress “might” (although they won’t really know what they are fixing since the Bishops won’t really tell them), but the Obama administration is the one who “broke” it in the first place, so the pleas of the Bishops are going to fall on deaf ears.

    My opinion is that the Bishops should start acting like Catholic men, stop pleading with people, start teaching authentic Catholic doctrine, defy this mandate publicly, and let the chips fall where they will.

  7. Supertradmum says:

    I am saddened by the weak response. I was hoping for really strong leadership. The lack of leadership in the Church is partially responsible for today’s decision. If this is not voted down by a new president and a new congress, we shall lose many rights, forever.

    The response is more confusing than not. Many Catholics will just agree, as they have, and carry on supporting Obama and his administration of castrating the Constitution.

    We are no longer a Federal system. Cannot the bishop’s conference see that socialism, condemned by every Pope since 1848, changes the definition of each individual and his or her role in a nation? They just don’t get it.

  8. TravelerWithChrist says:

    In other words, USCCB approves theft – stealing of a person’s money to give to another, because that’s what it is. The so-called poor in the US have cell phones, computers, cars, on and on. They are not really so poor that they can’t get themselves to a county hospital, or otherwise…
    I’m outraged. This health care mandate is a way to control the future of the next generation – there will be more abortions, forced and otherwise. Also, be prepared for a tax to exceed a 1 or 2 child policy. It’s coming in some form or fashion. Freedom ain’t free.

    I’ve said it elsewhere, Justice Roberts owes us Catholics an explanation, as does his Spiritual Adviser and his Bishop.

    Many priests and bishops have the Contraceptive Mentality that is destroying our nation.

  9. wmeyer says:

    Many priests and bishops have the Contraceptive Mentality that is destroying our nation.

    Yes, indeed. And the Social Justice infection which leads them to believe that doctrine can be overlooked or denied in the pursuit of feel-good legislation.

    Oddly, I find nowhere in Scripture any suggestion in favor of taxes to support the poor. I do find numerous references, however, to our own personal obligation to charity.

  10. Fr. Frank says:


    If that’s what you meant then I agree with you all the more! Pax tecum.

  11. Clinton R. says:

    More passivity from the USCCB. Little to no outrage over the unfairness of Obamacare. As ceolfrid stated, “religious liberty” is a condemned heresy. What the bishops need to focus on is the freedom of the Catholic Church against Obama’s pernicious attacks on her. What happened to this being the Church Militant, not the Church Milquetoast?

  12. Fr. Frank says:


    If that’s what you meant then I can only say that I agree with you all the more!

    Pax Tecum!

  13. Dennis Martin says:

    My plea to the USCCB: When will you take Catholic Social Teaching on SUBSIDIARITY seriously? I’m getting tired of waiting.

    My plea to the bishops: get out of the legislative lobbying business and start teaching subsidiarity to your flocks.

  14. moon1234 says:

    I am just stunned at this statement by the USCCB. It almost reads like capitulation. If this is what we can expect from the USCCB then we might as well give up. They are unwilling to take ANY stand against the social darwinism that this country is infected with. I think they rather like it.

    The outright call for health coverage of illegal aliens is a reason to oppose the legislation? Really? Since when did the Catholic faith advocate stealing from they neighbor (that is what this law advocates).

    I really feel that this county is dead and is quickly decending into a Euro Babyl. It really will not be long until Catholic hospitals are doing abortions, handing out contraceptives and forcing doctors to violate their Catholic Consciences. I doubt there are very many Bishops who are willing to defy the government and be arrested, etc. Imagine the image of the cops/IRS seizing a hospital/Bishop for their refusal to pay the conscience fine/kill innocent humans.

    I think it is time to back individual Bishops who have a spine and put an end to these useless Bishops conferences.

  15. Clinton R. says:

    Also, how can the bishops think Obama can be reasoned with? He is the first gay president, strongly pro abortion, pro socialist and pro everything else that contradicts the Catholic Church. Is the USCCB dumb or incredibly naive or have they given up? The Catholic Church and Obama can and never shall be reconciled. The end days might be near. May Our Lord have mercy upon us. May Our Blessed Mother pray for us. +JMJ+

  16. kab63 says:

    Now might be a good time to discuss Father Sirico’s recent book. His argument against government healthcare and for subsidiarity is very good. Why don’t more of our bishops hold this well-reasoned position?

  17. TravelerWithChrist says:

    Amen – the USCCB has been a disaster since it’s beginnings. The only coalition needed is obedience to the Magisterium and our own Church teachings.
    The USCCB is only a ‘catholyc’ tool for the government.

    For Greater Glory came at a good time. We need the zeal for Christ.

  18. wmeyer says:

    Clinton R.: Also, how can the bishops think Obama can be reasoned with?

    Much the same way Neville Chamberlain convinced himself Hitler could be reasoned with. And the results are unlikely to be more positive.

  19. PA mom says:

    Another issue where the bishops are outside of their competency. Despite their confident assurances that they have “been” the healthcare system for hundreds of years, this is at least equally an exercise of how to direct an economy and how to write and pass legislation.
    How about spending more time extolling the virtue of those in healthcare who are generous with their time and knowledge and reminding others who are less so that their gifts are to be shared as well? What about the old idea that there was too much profit sometimes, and encouraging those in the industry to measure themselves against a Catholic model, not national best practices? How about speaking against both greed and those who have redefined healthcare as not just treating the sick but perfecting bodies in a quest for earthly eternal life (ie. so many maintenance drugs).
    This response is not enough, but likely nothing will be.

  20. Johnno says:

    SuperTradMum: “Cannot the bishop’s conference see that socialism, condemned by every Pope since 1848, changes the definition of each individual and his or her role in a nation? They just don’t get it.”

    Nope! Remember?! Vatican II promised not to condemn errors nor condemn communism! That’s the new spirit talking! Who cares about God’s warnings and demand to consecrate Russia?! Not the Church! No, we work with the UN now and the Council of World Religions! They are the key to world peace! Globalization is the new Evangelization! We are opening windows all over the place! We probably should’ve installed screens first… but… what me worry?

  21. The Cobbler says:

    I’m still trying to figure out how requiring everyone to purchase health insurance does anything for the problem of providing everyone with health insurance. Granted there are other things in the law requiring all health insurance plans to conform to xyz standards (among which is the morally repugnant contraception provision), but after that I can think of any number of things that would do more toward providing everyone with health care than telling them they’re not allowed to go without insurance. (Then again, one thing I can think of is to ban health insurance and let us actually have free market forces in play in the health care arena, rather than free market forces distorted by one of the few legal ponzi schemes prominent in our nation. It doesn’t occur to anybody that doctors would go out of business if they set their prices higher than people can afford _and there was no such thing as insurance_. Instead, everyone paints it as if maintaining the insurance status quo was “the free market”. As the British say, codswallop! And I’m not even saying you wouldn’t need a system to help people who can’t keep up with the market forces, just that “the system” we have had the past however many years/decades isn’t what people call it anyway.)

    As for the Bishops, they can stand with the Church and make it through (whether they’re killed or not — let’s face it, dying for the right reason pretty much doesn’t count in the great grand scheme of things… or it counts the other way, however you want to look at it), or they can give in and wind up the same place everyone else who gave in wound up: forgotten and dead. Heck, even those of the Church’s enemies who’ve made themselves hard to forget (Nero, Napoleon, Hitler, you name ’em) are still dead. I’m not going to waste my time critiquing which side any given one seems to stand on; I’ve got my own witness to work on here and, honestly, it doesn’t affect me that much whether other people are on the side of the Church or not. Take the path of Christ and don’t look back on Gomorrah, or even the plow for the field if that means turning back. Nothing like a spiritual waste of time to spoil an otherwise well-intending soul.

  22. LisaP. says:

    There’s an old BBC mystery series with an episode where a priest is targeted by a woman because her husband is seeing a prostitute. The punchline is that she’s not mad at the priest for condoning her husband’s adultery or not revealing it, she’s mad because she’d become pregnant and the priest had counciled her that she should have an abortion because her family couldn’t afford another child, so God would understand — then she finds out her family’s money is being spent by her husband on prostitutes, and the priest knows.

    That’s how I feel about this stuff.

    I’m trying to do the right thing in my life. We’re trying to pay for health insurance on our own, not be bound to a corporation or the government for our health care, trying to make sure our family is cared for while not contributing to a bad system or taking from the system. Now, this bill goes through, health care costs will skyrocket. We will probably no longer have health insurance we can afford for our kid. We won’t be able to afford the family health insurance premiums. We will not qualify for the federal “assistance” for paying for premiums, as odious as that might be at would at least make it possible for us to pay insurance premiums, because if your household income is too low (and our might be) then you cannot use those, you have to go on Medicaid instead. Medicaid will give my kids health care that is half the quality of what I have now, if it stays the same quality it is, and it won’t.

    And the bishops, my bishops, my loving shepherds, are saying, “Yeah, that’s all just fine, just fix things so *I* don’t have to sign a check for contraception.”

    I am heartbroken by how restricted my families choices are becoming, how difficult it is to live a right life in this country, and by how little the bishops seem to understand or care. It was a nice little interlude there, where I thought maybe they cared a little bit. Now. . . oh, well.

  23. LisaP. says:

    Cobbler, well said.
    The requirement to purchase insurance is to support portability, which is a necessity for a universal health care finance plan. You can’t have folks joining the plan only when they are taking more than they would put in, and these government plans incentivize people to do just that — Romney’s plan, for example, inclined young people to actually drop their insurance because premiums were thousands a year and the penalty for not having insurance was $700 a year, so you just pay the penalty until you need insurance and pop on.

    The problem is, this is all a big lie. Most states have high risks pools where people can buy private insurance (yes, they buy it, pay the premiums, there can be government involvement but it’s a paid for plan like yours, not a charity or welfare). These plans run into the same problem portability does — how do you make sure someone doesn’t just go without insurance, then the day he gets cancer he signs up for the plan, pays $275 a month in premiums and pulls out thousands in benefits? Easy Peasy. If you aren’t coming directly off another insurance plan, you must wait 6 months before you can sign on to a high risk plan. Six months will bankrupt you if you’ve got a serious medical condition. So, bammo, instant incentive to get insurance while you’re healthy and keep it without gaps.

    Health insurance is about ethics (paying your own bills if you are able, rather than dumping the costs on the hospital, etc.) and about asset protection. To make sure everyone can get insurance while also keeping the field fair (you don’t take out when sick if you haven’t given in when healthy) you have to make sure people will hurt more financially if they don’t buy insurance while healthy than if they do. Not so hard to do. Don’t need a mandate for that. All of this stuff with Obamacare’s legal requirement to buy a product to be a living American citizen is smoke and mirrors. It didn’t have to be. We’re just trying to make everyone hurt and scared so they’ll give in to socialized medicine, throw up their hands and surrender. It’s working well.

  24. Bryan Boyle says:

    Yeah…this abomination needs to be fixed. Just like your pet cat or dog.

    This is reason #432567 for the Holy See to dissolve these useless bishop’s conferences. They have zero competence in politics. The marxist-in-chief has thrown them under the bus so many times they have Michelin tread marks on their pointy hats, but they keep on leaping up like a puppy gazing at the government types with big brown eyes asking to be stroked again.

    Democracy, if you didn’t know, is two wolves and a sheep discussing what’s for lunch. I hate to say it, but for most of them (and this probably includes the entire ‘professional’ staff of the Conference), they are in WAY over their heads. They’re assuming, like Chamberlain did at Munich that the opposition was operating by the same rules out of the same playbook. They are really living in a fool’s paradise if they actually take a position thinking that The Wun really cares what they think.

    So, the religious affairs office of the Democrat party oops, most of the USCCB, really ought to either take a good hard look about what being administration quislings has done…it’s not pretty. Fix? Yeah…that’ll work. He’ll listen to reason.


  25. acardnal says:

    I agree with you Bryan Boyle. Someone correct me if I’m mistaken but I don’t think bishops’ conferences existed prior to Vatican but were a creation thereof. Real authority exists with the individual bishop not the conference which is a point Bp. Bruskewitz of Lincoln, NE often alludes to.

    The USCCB should stick to enunciating principles of the Magisterium and Scripture and not get into the details of secular political life.

  26. acardnal says:

    “Vatican” should read “Vatican Two”

  27. There is no negotiating with evil. Period.

  28. acardnal says:

    You are correct Joe of St Therese. Some leaders are so evil they only understand force.

    An excellent writer on this subject is Professor of Classics, Victor David Hanson who makes this point in his many books using the history of ancient Greece.

  29. Pingback: Catholic Blogosphere Reaction to Supreme Court Health Care Ruling | Big Pulpit

  30. SKAY says:

    I also agree with Joe of St. Therese.
    This health care bill is just about about the power to control every aspect of our lives–not health care. They have proven that they do not negotiate in good faith
    I understand that Muslims have been given a waiver because they do not believe in insurance. How do they all pay for their healthcare? Do they use Medicaid?
    Why are pro Obama Unions being given waivers? The Democrats in Congress refused to put themselves under Obamacare when given the opportunity to do so by Republican backed bills –Democrats had the House and Senate at the time.
    I see a pattern here.

  31. Supertradmum says:

    My only consolation at this point is that more than half the bishops in the ancient Church went over to the Arians and the Church survived.

  32. wmeyer says:

    Bryan: They have zero competence in politics.

    True enough, but they need no such competence to understand this: In any compromise between good and evil, evil wins.

    Dancing with the devil–not an option.
    Lying down with pigs–not an option.
    Trusting politicians–not an option.
    Taking money from the Feds–not an option.

    Compromise leaves you compromised. A lesson the bishops need to take to heart.

  33. wmeyer says:

    Sister Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, said she was pleased that the health care law “has been found constitutional and will remain in effect.”

    Will she never learn?

  34. irishgirl says:

    What a wussy statement from the USCCB.
    Come on, Your Excellencies! You think dealing with the devil (Obama and his minions) is going to work? No way, no how….and now we’ve seen the results. Dealing with Obama is like what Chamberlain did in dealing with Hitler….same results.
    We need Catholic men (yes, Bishops, you are MEN) with SPINES. Think of Becket, think of Fisher, your predecessors as shepherds!
    @ acardnal: You’re right. Bishops’ conferences did not exist prior to Vatican II. They are a waste of time and of money. Bishop Bruskiewitz (God bless him) was right in what he said that real authority rests with the individual Bishop rather than some stupid conference.
    @ Supertradmum: Re your comment about the past when ‘the world was Arian’: yeah, I guess I can take consolation in that. The Church has been through worse times, and she will survive this one.

  35. Johnno says:

    Nobody doubts the Church will survive. Right now we’re just afraid for the Church in certain areas of the world, and the Catholics that will have to deal with those situations. I wonder if they will survive… or will death/martyrdom be much easier than living through it… I don’t have to hope for the Church… I KNOW the Church one way or another will survive. But can I continue to hope for myself, my loved ones and the state of the Church where I am? Frankly I’m busy trying to ready myself to possibilities such as facing jail time if necessary, and facing the idea that I might have to live in poverty simply to maintain my Catholic Faith. I’m more keen on deciding that I won’t marry nor have children. I’d been discerning the priesthood, but the actions of the Church leadership here have made me lose interest and I’m thinking I’d be more effective as a layman, unbound by vows of obedience, as I believe I’ll have to fight against both the state and the enemy within the Church. I doubt I’d have made a good priest anyway… as I’m not a very social people-person. I don’t know anymore… Frankly I’m afraid I’m just going to continue drifting with no real direction in life for awhile yet…

  36. Cantate says:

    The USCCB and its predecessor organizations have had unholy alliances with the Democrat-socialist party since about the time of World War I. There existed the Catholic Welfare Conference at the time, composed of bishops in the U.S. We need bishops who preach and teach the Faith and uphold the Magisterium–we have precious few of those. Many members of the USCCB lobbied hard for Congress to pass the Obamacare bill, and they are enthusiastic about amnesty for illegal aliens–never mind about obeying “just laws.” They seem to love tinkering in politics, in areas where they have no competency. And they have little if any credibility. God help us!

  37. Cantate says:

    A good book on Catholic bishops’ organization by Michael Warner, entitled: Changing Witness: Catholic Bishops and Public Policy, 1917- 1994. You can find used copies on the internet.

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