Reporting Andy Sheehan
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Every day, the Catholic Charities health care clinic downtown provides uninsured patients with a complete medical work up from coronary care to free root canals.
But Bishop David Zubik warns that this may end under the care legislation known as “Obamacare.”
“We really protest against this mandate because it does in fact violate the constitutional right of separation between church and state,” he said.
At issue is the type of medical insurance the diocese provides to its own employees.
Right now, those employed at the clinic receive health insurance tailored to fit the church’s beliefs, but under new federal guidelines — all new insurance policies must cover contraceptives and sterilization, which run counter to church teachings.
“And to be able to have this forced upon us really will have a disastrous effect on organizations like Catholic Charities and will have a very disastrous effect even in terms of the kind health care coverage we can to offer for our employees,” he said.
Catholic Charities Director Susan Rauscher says if the new guidelines go into effect, the clinic will need to close.
“The end result of that is if we can’t keep employees, we can’t provide our services, the doors have to close,” she said.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is taking input on the new guidelines through the end of the month, and Catholic Charities is asking parishioners to lobby their representatives against them.
“It doesn’t quite make sense to me that I have to choose between doing good and doing as I am called by God to meet some arbitrary criteria of what a religious exemption is,” Rauscher said.