Sisters of St. Joseph Issue Public Statements on Healthcare and Immigration Reform
The Federation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph is a union of all the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the United States who claim a common origin in the foundation at LePuy, France in 1650. This includes over 7,000 members of 23 Congregations throughout the United States. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are a Roman Catholic religious community of women, comprised of over 1,100 members. Together the Federation and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet strive to embody a vision of all people united in one earth community of love, unity and reconciliation. We do this through collaborative programs, interaction, prayer and ministry. In our conflicted 21st century world, the Sisters of Saint Joseph seek to bring our traditions and vision to life in a way that will speak to our contemporary society and be a positive influence for change.
This month, the Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet have issued the following public statements on healthcare reform and immigration. For your interest, we have included the talking points and action steps as well.
U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph Statement on HEALTHCARE REFORM
Compelled by the gospel of Jesus and our mission to respond to the “dear neighbor” without distinction, the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph Leadership Council and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet add their voice to that of NETWORK, a Catholic Social Justice lobby, in support of health care reform. We believe that access to affordable, quality healthcare is a basic human right and a fundamental social good for all persons. The current state of health care in the United States constitutes social sin that must be eradicated through broad and deep engagement of the public conscience. We advocate for a healthcare system that is:
- Accessible to everyone in the United States
- Affordable, funded and administered in a simple, direct way
- Comprehensive, including preventative, primary, acute, long-term, and hospice care
- Quality, including care that is culturally appropriate.
Impact on Women and children
As the economy worsens, many employers are forced to reduce healthcare coverage for dependents, leaving millions of women and children at risk. Also, women are less likely to get health insurance through their jobs because they are more likely to work part-time, work in small businesses that don’t provide any insurance, or they are full-time caregivers for their children. In many states, insurance companies can still discriminate because of gender, denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions such as having a C-section, having had a baby, or having been a victim of domestic violence.
- Healthcare is a social good for our country. It is a right for every individualto have access to quality, affordable healthcare. The following are critical: adequate supports for those who are unable to pay for health insurance either through an expansion of Medicaid or through subsidies for private insurance premiums, i.e. public option; a limit on patient out-of-pocket costs and no financial cap on benefits; affordable coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions and immigrants; healthcare that is portable.
- Quality healthcare for everyone is needed in our country. Medical services need to be integrated into a holistic system that has the patient at the center of concern. Physicians need to be encouraged to work in primary care practices through funding and other incentives in order to have a “medical home” for all patients.
- We must have systemic cost controls for individuals, families, businesses and government. The funding for healthcare needs to be based on the actual health needs of an individual and not the number of services that a medical staff can provide. Medical procedures must be based on best practices and quality medicine, and not a profit motive. Federal regulation of the insurance industry is required in order to limit the cost of administration to a small percentage of the total cost for the provision of healthcare. If it is not possible to adequately regulate the insurance industry at the federal level, then a “public option” or “Medicare for all who want it” is the alternative for controlling costs through competition.
- Stay informed on the health care issue as it moves through Congress.
- Use the above talking points to call and write your Senators and Representative.
- NETWORK offers current, updated analysis on the issue and action alerts
- For more information, visit the U.S. Catholic Bishops' site on health care.
The U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet
U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph Statement on IMMIGRATION
We, the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph Leadership Council and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, compelled by the Gospel and by our heritage to be responsive to the "dear neighbor" without distinction, call on President Obama and the 2009-10 Congress to enact immigration policy that is both just and comprehensive. We believe that this policy must include:
- A plan for addressing applicant backlogs for permanent residence, with family unity as a priority
- An effective program for temporary workers
- A realistic path to earned legalization
- Restoration of due process protections and reformed detention policies for those detained in the immigration system
- Effective border security that recognizes the human rights of all people
- A process whereby students who are children of undocumented families can earn a college degree and become gainfully employed. We must remember that these children are here through no fault of their own; and their only desire is to become a citizen of the nation in which they have grown up.
Impact on Women and Children
Immigration impacts women and children deeply since they comprise more than half of undocumented people in the United States. Because of this and the hardship they endure, immigration reform needs a strong family reunification component so that mothers and children will not be separated. Also included must be provisions for health care for the children beyond the one year which is allowed at this time.
- A plan for addressing applicant backlogs for permanent residence, with family unity as a priority. Immigrant families contribute to our nation and help form new generations of Americans. The US family-based immigrations system, which helps keep families together is in urgent need of reform. Some families wait five years or more, and more than 8 years for spouses to reunite with each other and for parents to reunite with minor children.
- Effective Worker Program: Job portability--Workers should be able to move between jobs without losing their immigrant status; Family unity which allows immediate family members to join worker (giving family member work authorization; many times workers need to have two jobs to make ends meet); Enforcement mechanism and resources to assure worker rights; Visa should be renewable as long as the workers meet the requirements.
- Realistic path to citizenship Earned legalization should be workable, achievable and fair.
- Dream ACT – Children of undocumented families can earn a college degree and become gainfully employed. We must remember that these children are here through no fault of their own; and their only desire is to become contributing members of their society and citizens of the nation in which they have grown up.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform has not yet been drafted or introduced in the 111th Congress. However two pieces of legislation are now pending.
Write to your Congress person and ask them to sponsor the legislation below as a step to Comprehensive Immigration reform:
- The DREAM Act (H.R. 1751 – S. 729) – The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act has been introduced in previous Congresses but has not yet passed. It is an important piece of legislation that offers a path to legal status for those who were brought to the United States as children and know the U.S. as their only home.
- Family Unity Act (S. 1085) – This legislation would permit families to be together.
The U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet