Some Clarifications from Obama

congress.480Some important clarifications from Obama’s speech to Congress two days ago.  The full text is here:

And I have no doubt that these reforms would greatly benefit Americans from all walks of life, as well as the economy as a whole. Still, given all the misinformation that’s been spread over the past few months, I realize that many Americans have grown nervous about reform. So tonight I’d like to address some of the key controversies that are still out there.

Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim, made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple.

There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false – the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally. And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up – under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.

10 Responses to Some Clarifications from Obama

  1. standmickey says:

    Yeah, but from what I’ve read, the abortion question is a bit more complicated.

  2. BCatholic says:

    Not sure why you posted this, without any commentary of your own, hence the poor rating but…

    has the President even read the bill?

  3. Father Joseph SJ says:

    There are two fundamental points that still need to be clarified and are still be questioned with no true answer from the administration:

    1. Will there actually be 500 billion cut in Medicare over the next 10 years?
    It would seem to me that you cannot cut 500 billion dollars out of a fund and not limit some services for the elderly. The care of the elderly to me are a priority, not just because I am an elder but from the whole theme of the Gospel message.

    2. I do have serious doubts about the statements on the funding for abortions. I sat down and read the entire HR3200 and I am still questioning the administration veracity in the area of funding for abortions. You cannot talk about health care if in the same breath you are speaking about taking unborn lives.

    3. In reading of the bill, I still have seen nor heard from the Administration on the place of the Conscience Clause which if not permitted would have a deep effect upon all Catholic Medical Professionals in the country when it comes to life issues.

    4. There is still problems on the coverage of illegal immigrants. I am not too sure the President was convincing when he stated the bill would not cover illegal immigrants. From a Christian and Catholic viewpoint I would find it difficult not to grant insurance to those who are able to pay a minimum amount. Of course, in Charity, we cannot decline medical help to those who are in need. We need to find a reasonable way to insure those who are not able to pay for insurance. I wish they could consider the voucher method for those who are able.

    I stand with the Catholic Bishops when they have stated that they collectively will not support a health care bill that funds abortions.

    With blessings, young men. You do great work. May God grant all of you graces that will make you always aware of the needs of men and women and course in the ministry of education. If we can teach goodness, discipline and knowledge in this day and age. .then, we are working for a better world. The challenge is certainly yours.

  4. BCatholic,

    Haven’t had time for commentary. Here’s to hoping he’s telling the truth and will keep his promises. That’s all.

  5. The best way forward on this might be through Congressman Stupak’s recommendation that the bill include a vote on the Hyde Amendment.

  6. Jeff Johnson SJ says:

    Father Joseph.
    Which bill are you talking about? The president indicated that he was done with the house version of a health care bill and instead signaled that he was much closer to the version that will come out of the Senate Finance Committee. On Wednesday night he was not talking specifically about HR3200, but was spelling out his own preferences for a health care reform bill. Therefore, there is still hope that his bit about abortion and the conscience clause will be included in the Finance Committee’s work.

  7. Jeff Johnson SJ says:

    This article at the Catholic News Service site was helpful:

  8. Gabriel Austin says:

    There is, of course, great difficulty in the question of illegal immigrants.

    For those with emergency problem, generally they cannot be refused treatment before the question of their status.

    For other health care, how can they apply for care without putting their heads above the radar line? If they are in the U.S. illegally, the government – the upholder of the law – cannot but send them back whence they came. The government does not exist outside the boundaries of the law.

    The question then arises about how to provide for those who are illegally present in the country and are sick. This is a difficult question. It is not to be solved by hand-waving about our obligations charity.

    [I am, by the way, all for the “illegals”. They are simply doing what most of our ancestors did. As FDR once addressed the DAR: “Fellow immigrants…”}.

    • Paul J Clifford says:

      Wise words Mr Austin. The question of illegal immigrants is a complex issue and one that should err on the side of compassion. Not being an American I suppose I should keep my nose out of your business though I should say that most Europeans view American healthcare provision as rather bizarre. I remember that in the 1990s a report said that infant mortality rates in some US inner cities was comparable to that of Mumbai – then a Third World city. This in a country with a wealth of secondary and tertiary specialists (in areas like ridiculous plastic surgery) and a very poor record in primary healthcare (relatively few doctors going into general practice). I don’t know what the answer is but you should not be so scared of bureaucrats (which Americans usually are). You should remember that bureaucrats can be forces for good, displaying a humanity that is often lacking in insurance contracts and market forces.

  9. Mason Slidell says:

    Jeff is right. There is no single bill before Congress nor has the President endorsed any of the current versions coming out of committees. Reading the political tea leaves would indicate that the President’s bill will come out of the Senate Finance Committee.

    The Catholic position should include three fundamentals: 1) universal coverage for all, 2) no funding for abortion, euthanasia or stem cell research and 3) a conscience clause for doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

    With these principles in mind, the hard work of reaching a single bill now begins. There is much to build on from the President’s speech, but only when we a final bill navigates its way through the legislative process will we be able to take a more definitive stance yea or nay.

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