As the debate over national health care reform heats up, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has launched a new Web site explaining its position on the issues. The Catholic Church has long advocated universal health care coverage.The full endorsement for comprehensive reform linked to on the site was actually written in 1993 and makes reference to the Clinton administration. The Church's endorsement straddles Republican and Democratic party lines with both a strong stand for universal care and adamant opposition to any fom of government funding for abortion — an issue that continues to be disputed in different congressional proposals for health reform.
In our Catholic tradition, health care is a basic human right. Access to health care should not depend on where a person works, how much a family earns, or where a person lives. Instead, every person, created in the image and likeness of God, has a right to life and to those things necessary to sustain life, including affordable, quality health care. This teaching is rooted in the biblical call to heal the sick and to serve "the least of these," our concern for human life and dignity, and the principle of the common good. Unfortunately, tens of millions of Americans do not have health insurance. According to the Catholic bishops of the United States, the current health care system is in need of fundamental reform.
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