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March 18, 1994     The Message
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March 18, 1994

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MESSAGE i i The Message-- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana VOLUME 24 NUMBER 29 March 18, 1994 00="JL   of meetings completed litor cal insurance ng was series of sessions the Diocese of , on a medical insur- eligible lay schools, ces and other in Vincennes, 9, was de- of snow -- as inches in some diocese __ and at Flaget 70 people at- etings were held urgh, Resurrection on March Ire- 18. of St. t'man of presenta- Bishop Get- Kenneth R. and Ire- made at Resurrec- in Evansville, a member of Freeman. the two of the which had proposal. Knapp pre- an- Msgr. Wdinated the ee. and Vogler the corn- and of the was held Jan. 26. bade by the continue a hiring the diocese pay for "ordi- paid out in fees. proposed current msjor at the Period; all pay an as- employees a kind as is now in Ite plan Em- continue to In the costs eir health Proposed to have the program phased in over four years. Money to re- duce the premiums and to build up a reserve would come from an assessment -- to be paid by employers for each eli- gible employee. In the early years at least, employers who now pay all or some of the pre- miums for employees would continue to pay those fees as well. Gradually, as the assess- ment increased (from $900 in the first year to $3,600 in the fourth year), the fees would be decreased. Participants at the Vin- cennes meeting expressed their concerns about the impact of the proposal on Catholic schools in Vincennes and Washington. Washington Catholic Schools do not offer an insurance pro- gram to eligible employees; Vincennes Rivet and Flaget schools have an insurance pro- gram separate from the dioce- san program. The new insur- ance proposal would not allow employers to pay into a sepa- rate program. Representatives from St. Bernard 'Church in Rockport and Precious Blood Church in Jasper expressed similar con- cerns about the impact on their parishes and schools, at the meeting in Ireland. Precious Blood has established a sepa- rate insurance program for lay employees. At St. Bernard, as at Washington Catholic and several other employers in the diocese, eligible employees may participate in the current diocesan program, if they pay the informational fees ("premi- ums'). Among the many complica- tions in the diocese is the wide variety of ways in which em- ployers and employees cur- rently share in paying the costs. Some employers pay all of an individual's fees; others pay half of whatever is needed -- individual or family, and some pay nothing. Among suggestions made to the bishop at various meetings are the following: Find an alternative way to raise the money for the reserve fund. (A portion of the yearly assessment is supposed to build up a $1 million fund, to stabilize the program in years when claims paid out are greater than the fees paid in.) Offer an insurance pro- gram to all employees in the first year. (The phase-in pro- posal calls for giving insurance to all eligible employees in the fourth year.) Raise the insurance de- SERIES page 12 Snowflake I Ninety-seven junior high school students from Catholic schools in the Evansville area attended a Snowflake retreat March 12-13 at St. Benedict Church, Evansville. The overnight retreat, which was coordinated by 30 students from Memorial and Mater Dei high schools, was a "cooperative effort to prevent cheal and a!ol. | dependeneiesand .other : Of,:d+ ==irl:,ve Amodio, chairperson, Above, students participate in an tee b | ning of the retreat, i : | -- Message photo by Mary Ann Hughes I I I I I IIIII IIIII I I I II ] IIIIIII I I II Abortion still a concern as health reform moves through Congress By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- As the Clinton health care reform plan moved into a new phase in Congress, Catholic and pro- life leaders continued to press for changes in its abortion cov- erage and other areas. "We've settled 1,000 argu- ments and we've got 15 or 20 to go," said Rep. Jim McDer- mott, D-Wash., of the work of the House Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Health. In mid-March the panel was centering its attention on a written-from-scratch proposal of the subcommittee chairman, Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., which kept some elements of the Clinton plan but rejected others, including the regional alliances framework. Pep. Ben Cardin, D-Md., an- other subcommittee member, called the Stark plan "less bu- reaucratic, less federal, more private, more building on the current system, less disruptive to the employer-employee relationship" than the Clinton proposal. Patricia King, U.S. Catholic Conference adviser on health concerns, said the conference likes some aspects of Stark's proposal, especially its benefits for low-income workers and for children, but questions whether the idea of including the poor in Medicare is workable. But abortion remained a more important concern for lobbyists representing Catholic i and pro-life groups as the Clin- ton bill and a half dozen alter- native plans began the "markup" phase in Congress. None of the plans currently under consideration excludes coverage of abortion from its See ABORTION page 2 MAKING PROGRESS The Message mailing list is now being managed "in house" at the Diocese of Evansville. We made the change March 4. The list of ad- dressess is stored on a computer at the treasurer's office in the Catholic Center. The new system provides our staff with a weekly opportunity to make corrections and address changes in the list. RECEIVING TWO COPIES? If you are receiving two copies of the Message, or if your address is incorrect, please contact Amy Hous- man, Message Circulation, (812) 424-5536 or (800) 671-1374. In the past, corrections and changes took up to three weeks to complete. The new system wills serve our sub- scribers more quickly and efficiently. ,, ,, .... , .... . ' ....... ]