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National Advocate: Don't Let the Government Take Away Your Rights in Healthcare Reform

Contact: Mike O'Dea, Christus Medicus Foundation, 248-980-8456

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 /Christian Newswire/ -- A national health care advocate is urging Congress to include a right of conscience for parents in the new Children's Health Insurance Plan and Medicaid legislation that Congress is expected to enact within days.

"Poor and working class Americans should not have to choose between sending their children to the doctor and their religious liberty," said Mike O'Dea, Executive Director, Christus Medicus Foundation.

Under the U.S. House-passed Children's Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) and Medicaid legislation, more children would be offered access to contraception, abortifacients, and abortion without parental involvement, O'Dea said. The U.S. Senate is now considering the bill. As in the House version, children in families making $63,000 or less would be eligible. In the reauthorization bill, the House changed the name of the program previously known as SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program) to CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program).

President Barack Obama has made SCHIP and Medicaid for the children of low income families a top priority, and Congressional leaders promised to pass legislation renewing and expanding SCHIP as quickly as possible. O'Dea says poor and working class Americans should have health insurance similar to the options offered to federal employees in Illinois and Indiana, where federal employees have the option to enroll in an insurance plan that does not discriminate. The federal government in those states provides employees the option to choose a plan that does not cover contraceptives, abortifacients, or abortions but can also choose one that does offer those procedures.

"We are in tough economic times and more and more people are turning to the government for help to make sure their children receive adequate health care. As a nation we believe in equality for all - and being down on your luck should not mean you have to hand over control of your child's healthcare to the government," said O'Dea. "Parents should have the right to choose a plan that does not violate their religious beliefs and their right to be their children's primary educator and care giver."

The Christus Medicus Foundation (CMF)  is a non-profit organization dedicated to reclaim Christ-centered health care by educating religious leaders, policy makers and the American public on the need to reform corporate and public policy to allow God's people a "conscientious choice" in selecting health insurance. Visit www.christusmedicus.com for more information.