The health care reform package nearing a vote in Congress has officially divided America’s Catholics: their hospitals endorse the plan, their bishops “regretfully” oppose it.

The president of the Catholic Health Association, which represents more than 600 hospitals, calls the bill a “major first step” that will “make the lives of millions more secure, and their coverage more affordable.” The legislation isn’t perfect, she notes, but the CHA is satisfied the bill will not federally fund abortions (patients would pay for the procedure’s insurance coverage separately), and will increase support for pregnant women and adoption assistance.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops disagrees, unmoved by more than 5,000 emails reportedly sent in by lay Catholics lobbying the group to drop its opposition to health care reform. The Archbishop of Denver calls the bill morally flawed for falling short in three areas: “the exclusion of abortion funding and services; adequate conscience protections for health-care professionals and institutions; and the inclusion of immigrants.”

Basically, the same concerns that have plagued politicians and other faith groups for more than a year — with President Obama and Democratic leaders now pushing for a vote by week’s end anyway. Stay tuned, and share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

*Click here to subscribe to Belief Beat and click here to follow Belief Beat on Twitter.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

Thank you for visiting Belief Beat. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy:   Beliefnet News   Good News Happy Reading!  

Author Alain de Botton has announced plans to build an Atheist temple in the United Kingdom, presumably so nonbelievers have a place to gather and share their philosophies. Um… isn’t that what Starbucks is for? Also, I can’t wait to see how the architect will handle this kind of project. Maybe the building can feature […]

Alaska Airlines, now the country’s seventh-largest airline, has announced it will stop offering prayer cards with its in-flight meals. (It’s just raining religion news in the great unchurched Pacific Northwest lately.) I’ve flown Alaska several times since moving to Seattle, but I confess that I’ve never noticed these Psalm quotations. They were only offered on […]

I reported for Reuters at the Washington state Capitol yesterday, covering the public hearings on a gay marriage bill — and in between, the breaking news that the state Senate now has enough votes to pass the bill. (The House already had enough votes.) It now appears that Washington’s lawmakers will legalize gay marriage next month, […]