The AARP and American Medical Association supported H.R. 3692, the Affordable Health Care for America Act of 2009, but a careful analysis of the media coverage demonstrates that it was the U.S. Catholic Church that provided the winning margin. Yet, the liberal media are failing to raise the issue of the alleged separation of church and state.
Contrary to some media reports, the U.S. Catholics Bishops never opposed a national health care scheme. In fact, their main objection was to a provision for federal funding of abortion. Once that provision was eliminated, the Catholic Bishops embraced the bill.
On Saturday, after Catholic lobbyists had finalized a deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the most prominent Catholic in the U.S. Government, the Politico reported that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops had "delivered a critical endorsement" to Pelosi "by signing off on late-night agreement to grant a vote on an amendment barring insurance companies that participate in the exchange from covering abortions." The anti-abortion amendment by Rep. Bart Stupak, a Catholic Democrat, passed. Hence, the Bishops are now officially in favor of a bureaucratic plan that could spell the end to freedom of choice in health care and financially bankrupt the U.S.
"A half dozen lobbyists for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops joined negotiators in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office to come to terms," reported the Christian Science Monitor.
The Hill newspaper reported that Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) had been trying to broker a deal and appealed to the Catholic Bishops. "I would like the [U.S. Conference of Catholic] Bishops, who as I understand it want a bill, to help us work out a plan where we don't have winners and losers," Waxman was quoted as saying. "Because the losers will make us lose the bill and the winners won't have won anything."
NBC's Doug Adams reported that the Catholic Bishops were "lobbying hard."
The shocking turn of events once again demonstrates the extreme left-wing drift of the Catholic Church, which is the nation's largest religious denomination with 67 million members and run by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. But their role in passing Pelosicare is not the only evidence of such a turn. The Bishops poured more than $7.3 million of parishioners' money into the corrupt left-wing organization ACORN over the last decade before publicity over the organization's scandals forced suspension of the funding.
The Bishops were in favor of the health care plan, as long as abortion funding was deleted. In fact, as we noted in an October AIM Report, "On domestic matters, it is frequently reported that the Roman Catholic Bishops in the U.S. oppose the Obama health care plan. In fact, the bishops believe that 'health care is a basic human right,' which is the premise of the Obama plan and it is driving the campaign to have the federal government take over the health care sector. The Bishops disagree with Obama on tax-funding of abortion, but on other matters¯such as health care for immigrants and the poor¯the Bishops are to the left of the plans introduced by Congressional Democrats."
Blogger Steven Waldman of Beliefnet.com made the critical point that while most pro-life groups were either opposed to Democratic-style universal health care plans or neutral, "The Catholic Bishops are the only major pro-life group that wants health care reform."
But why? In addition to a socialist philosophy about the role of government, the Catholic Church operates 600 Catholic Hospitals, many of which serve legal and illegal immigrants. A national health care plan is a means by which these costs could be dumped on taxpayers.
Another factor could be the influence of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which recently announced a major agreement with the Catholic Bishops to make it easier for workers in Catholic hospitals to join unions. These hospitals have 525,193 full-time employees and 233,934 part-time workers who would normally be entitled to employer-paid health insurance. But under Pelosicare they could be transferred to a government plan offered under a so-called "health insurance exchange." Once again, taxpayers would be stuck with the bill.
"Health reform will bring the U.S. closer to a true, coordinated health care system. We need and deserve a solid health care infrastructure that serves everyone and promotes the common good," says the Catholic Health Association.
In addition to supporting "provisions in the legislation that will make health care more affordable for low-income people and the uninsured," a November 7 Bishops' letter to Congress cautioned against watering down provisions in the bill covering immigrants. It said, "We remain deeply concerned that immigrants be treated fairly and not lose the health care coverage that [they] have now."
The Bishops are so radical on health care reform that in a November 6 letter to Congress they endorsed government health care for illegal aliens. The letter said they "support access for immigrants to the health-insurance exchange, regardless of legal status, and support removal of the five-year ban on legal immigrants accessing Medicaid and other federal health-care programs…" (emphasis added).
Kathy Saile, director of domestic social development with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying that illegal aliens should be included in any health care plan because health care is "a basic right" and "you can't start cutting people out."