Washington, DC – A year ago, Pope Francis said: “Healthcare, especially at the most basic level, is indeed denied in many parts of the world … It is not a right for all, but rather it is still a privilege reserved to the few, to those who can afford it. Access to healthcare services, treatment and medicines remains a mirage. The poorest are unable to pay and are excluded from hospital services, even the most essential primary care.”

Today, the Pope met with US President Donald Trump. We pray that the President’s heart is moved to put families first and provide the universal coverage he promised during the campaign. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s new analysis shows that the American Health Care Act (AHCA) will still strip 23 million people of their health care, make radical changes to Medicaid that could cut health care for seniors, children and people with disabilities, and allow states to opt-out of covering essential benefits like newborn care, mental health care and prescriptions. The only winners are the wealthiest one percent, insurance companies, and prescription drug manufacturers who will receive $600 billion in tax breaks because of this bill.

The repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will raise premiums for nearly everyone and end Medicaid as we know it. There is a stereotype that only people in ‘urban’ areas rely on Medicaid, a code word for black and brown people. In reality, a higher proportion of people in rural areas are covered by Medicaid. The AHCA will force hospitals in rural regions to close or cut back on services, lay off health care workers, and damage local economies.

What does it mean to say that everyone is created ‘in the image of God’ and then be content to let millions of our brothers and sisters go without health care or with inadequate health care? We call on the Senate to reject Trumpcare and create legislation that protects and builds on the ACA, Medicaid and Medicare. Everyone should be able to see a doctor when they need one.

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