Mixed signals on health care reform from Catholic hospitals/lobbyists

The following comes from an article sent out on December 15 on CatholicWorld Report.com by Anne Hendershott, formerly sociology professor at the Universtiy of San Diego.

The battle over health care reform promises to be the most expensive one ever waged in Congress, as armies of lobbyists advance on Washington to demand that new legislation reflect their interests. Recognizing the high stakes involved, hospitals, drug companies, unions, and a host of health care providers ranging from medical device makers to Planned Parenthood have spent nearly $400 million on lobbying. All have a vested interest in “fixing” health care to their advantage.

One of the most visible activists involved in shaping health care reform is Sr. Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association (CHA), an advocacy organization that represents the interests of Catholic hospitals and large Catholic health care organizations throughout the country. Catholic hospitals and health care facilities pay dues to the CHA, whose stated mission is “to promote the Catholic Church’s ministry in health care and to respond to the members’ need to practice quality health care in the communities where they serve.”

In an attempt to fulfill this mission, Sr. Keehan has been out on the front lines advocating for health care reform from the earliest days of the Obama administration. On what side of the debate Sr. Keehan’s CHA falls, however, has been unclear and a source of concern given that all reform proposals before November permitted an expansion of abortion rights.

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