Archbishop Hebda, Lutheran leaders oppose Medicaid cuts in health care proposals

| July 14, 2017 | 4 Comments

Archbishop Bernard Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis was among Lutheran and Catholic leaders who called for health care policies that wouldn’t leave Americans “uninsured or without access to health care” amid attempts from the Republican-led Congress to repeal and replace the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act.

In a July 14 letter to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the leaders wrote that the two faith communities are committed to serving people in need — especially the poor, elderly, chronically ill, immigrants and disabled.

“As reflected in the hospitals and clinics established and supported by the faithful of our communities, we see caring for the sick and elderly as a core, not optional, component of living our faith and loving our neighbor,” the letter stated. “These long-held common values make us deeply disturbed about what is at stake this year as Congress prepares to overhaul our nation’s health care.”

Signing the letter with Archbishop Hebda were the Rev. Patricia Lull, bishop of the St. Paul Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; the Rev. Ann Svennungsen, bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Tim Marx, CEO of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis; and Jodi Harpstead, CEO of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota.

Specifically, the leaders said proposed health care reforms “suffer from a number of defects,” especially cuts to Medicaid, which they noted provides essential care and security to a variety of “vulnerable people” — from children to retirees.

The letter closed: “We acknowledge the difficulties associated with balancing competing interests and crafting legislation for health care that would be both accessible and affordable. We need to have legitimate, open debate about budgets in our democracy and about how to model our health care system for maximum cost effectiveness. But our faith, and in fact our American values, make it imperative that those models include the delivery of dignified health care even to those whose circumstances cause them to struggle to afford it.”

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Category: Local News