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Bishop Zubik Speaks Out Against Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill, Urges Bipartisanship

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PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA/AP) - Pittsburgh Catholic Bishop David Zubik says he has "serious concerns" about the latest Republican attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

In a statement released Thursday, Bishop Zubik said the proposed Graham-Cassidy health care bill could negatively affect seniors, pregnant women, those suffering from mental illness and people with pre-existing conditions.

The new bill would repeal central elements of former President Barack Obama's health care law and would essentially give health care control to the states.

GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham have spent weeks concocting and selling a new approach to scrapping President Obama's 2010 law after this summer's collapse of the effort in the Senate.

President Donald Trump and bill co-sponsor Sen. Cassidy insist that the bill covers pre-existing conditions. But there's a catch. It allows states to get a waiver from requirements that insurers charge the same to people with health problems as they do to healthy people.

Bishop Zubik tells the "KDKA Morning News" he isn't speaking out on the bill as a politician but as a religious leader, and he fears a vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill is coming too quickly.

"A bi-partisan group of senators that have been taking a look at a good health care program. They should take the time to be able to put together a health care program that's not going to put any lives in danger," said Bishop Zubik.

Bishop Zubik has his name on a Supreme Court case seeking to reform the Affordable Care Act so that it respects religious freedom, and while he says the Graham-Cassidy bill does that, the ACA's "core mechanisms benefit millions of us."

"When you take a look at the Medicaid portion of [the bill] could, in fact, hurt people who are in nursing homes or pregnant women or families who are really steeped in poverty," said Zubik.

Bishop Zubik encourages people to write and call Pennsylvania Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, and hopes that they think of the "most vulnerable of our society, [so] that they can receive good health care."

A vote on the bill could happen as early as next week.

Listen to the "KDKA Morning News" with Larry Richert and John Shumway weekday from 5 to 9 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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