The following is a statement by Father Dan Noll made at a recent press conference on the Governor's health care plan and Waiver 1115. Thank you to Father Noll for his prophetic and compassionate comments.
The Catholic Church that I represent today teaches that “health care is not a privilege, but a right. It’s an essential requirement to protect the life and dignity of every person. All people, regardless of their circumstances, should have access to comprehensive, quality and affordable health care. It should not depend on where they were born, what their stage of life, where they work, where their parents work, how much they earn or where they live” (as stated by the Catholic Bishops of Indiana in their March 2015 Statement Poverty at the Crossroads.) Health care is a human right. Period.
The Catholic community in Kentucky serves the sick and uninsured in emergency rooms, homeless shelters and on the doorsteps of our parish churches. In our hospitals we see patients whose sicknesses frequently have advanced critically because they lacked preventative medical attention. Having no health insurance, or inadequate basic coverage, means premature death. Kentucky cannot sacrifice people because they are poor. We Catholics bring both strong convictions and practical experience to the challenge of health care.
Many more lower-income individuals and families in Kentucky will lack the resources to meet the financial burdens of their health care, under Governor Bevin’s health care plan. For these families, an increase of premiums, cost-sharing charges and a lock out period will be significant barriers to obtaining coverage or seeing a doctor, much less a dentist or eye doctor.
Every proposed state budget reveals the values of the administration. Disregard of the vulnerable indicates its moral index of the common good. A genuine reform of health care in Kentucky should result in health care that is accessible and affordable for all, and not place more restrictions on accessing it.
Health insurance options must protect the lowest income enrollees from onerous cost sharing, not increase their burden. The complexity of the proposed plan will discourage access to care. Simplify access. Insure a human right.
We invite all Kentuckians to join us in rejecting the proposed changes and work for health care that will:
- “Promote and defend human dignity from the moment of conception until natural death;
- Attend to the whole person (body, mind and spirit), while pursuing a genuine pluralism that respects freedom of religion and conscience;
- Care for poor and vulnerable persons, regardless of race, ethnicity, economic or social or legal status;
- Practice a careful stewardship of resources by restraining costs and applying them equitably across the spectrum of those who must pay for health care.” (from Poverty at the Crossroads)
Health care policy must protect human life and dignity, not threaten them, especially for the most voiceless and vulnerable. Governor Bevin’s proposal is not good health care policy. We oppose it wholeheartedly! We are willing to work together for a health care plan which truly promotes the common good.