The Department pursues public policy that helps Marylanders – especially those living in or near poverty – access comprehensive health care. The Department also pursues public policy that protects religious freedom with regard to the health care decisions of Catholic patients, Catholic health care professionals, and the Catholic hospitals in Maryland.
Health & Human Services
As part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Resources' (HHS) efforts to enact the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, HHS announced in the summer of 2011 that it would mandate all private health insurance plans to cover surgical sterilization procedures and birth control, including the IUD, ‘morning-after’ pills and abortion-inducing drugs. It also would require that females of reproductive age be ‘educated and counseled’ on these issues.
What are missing are any real opt-outs for the Catholic Church and other religious institutions to not offer health insurance with these mandates. And what about the individual who does not want to contribute to these procedures?
“Without sufficient legal protection for rights of conscience, such a mandate would force all men, women and children to carry health coverage that violates the deeply-held moral and religious convictions of many,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
This mandate even forces individuals and groups with religious or moral objections to purchase and provide such coverage if they are to receive or provide health coverage at all.
This poses an unprecedented threat to individual and institutional religious freedom.
Federal Health Care Reform
During the year-long debate in Congress on federal health care reform, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops were leaders in advocating for genuine reform that would increase access for all, especially the poor and immigrants, while also respecting the dignity of human life. Learn more about the Church's position on federal health care reform here.
Over the 2010 summer, MCC attended meetings and submitted comments and letters to the Health Care Reform Coordinating Council and state departments to ensure abortion coverage is not added to the insurance program and also on how best to provide coverage for vulnerable populations. Read MCC's public comments and letter to the Council regarding access to insurance coverage.
Health Care Expansion
Help Marylanders access comprehensive health care by supporting programs and policies that: expand Medicaid eligibility to more low-income Marylanders, help businesses provide health coverage to their employees, and assist individuals in acquiring coverage for themselves and their families.