I’ll be curious to hear what the USCCB has to say about this piece of news:

keehan88900182-1268513284.jpgThe head of the national association of Catholic hospitals, which holds great sway in the health care debate, threw her support Saturday behind the contested Senate reform bill in a move that could give a major boost to the legislation’s prospects.

But the endorsement of Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, could also put the nun and her organization at odds with the Catholic hierarchy, which continues to oppose the bill due to its provision on abortion coverage.

As Politics Daily has reported, the Senate bill does not appear to allow for abortion funding, contrary to what many pro-life critics have claimed. But the dispute is proving pivotal to the bill’s chances in the House, where a cadre of pro-life Democrats, led by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) has threatened to sink the it if their demands for stronger anti-abortion language are not met.

In her statement Saturday, Keehan made it clear she thinks any qualms about abortion language in the Senate version can be resolved, and in any event are not enough to justify opposition to what Catholic leaders say is a pro-life issue and a “human right” — universal and affordable health care. Keehan attended a March 3 briefing by President Obama at the White House, an event she said clarified her decision to support the bill.

“As I watched our president present his plan to pass the health reform legislation, it was clear this is an historic opportunity to make great improvements in the lives of so many Americans,” Keehan said in her statement. “Is it perfect? No. Does it cover everyone? No. But is it a major first step? Yes.”

There’s more at the link. And Sr. Keehan’s statement can be read in full at the Catholic Hospital Association website.

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