- (Photo: Catholic News Service/Nancy Phelan Wiechec - United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Facebook photo)
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan explained Sunday why the Catholic Church continues to oppose President Barack Obama's signature health care law, saying it is incomprehensive as it excludes the undocumented immigrant and the unborn baby.
"We've been asking for reform in healthcare for a long time," Dolan, the former president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.
"So we were kind of an early supporter in this," he continued. "Where we started bristling and saying, 'Uh-oh, first of all this isn't comprehensive, because it's excluding the undocumented immigrant and it's excluding the unborn baby,' so we began to bristle at that."
Dolan said the Church supported health care "because of our religious conviction and because the dictates of our conscience… And now we're being asked to violate some of those."
The health care law, or "Obamacare," requires employers and health care providers to include contraceptive and family-planning services in their coverage. To address the concerns, Obama provided for employers to choose not to provide contraceptive coverage for moral reasons, but allowed consumers to get it directly from insurers.
"So that's when we began to worry and draw back and say, 'Mr. President, please, you're really kind of pushing aside some of your greatest supporters here," Dolan said. "We want to be with you, we want to be strong. And if you keep doing this, we're not going to be able to be one of your cheerleaders.' And that sadly is what happened."
The cardinal also said: "We, the bishops of the United States, can you believe it, in 1990 came out for more affordable, more comprehensive, more universal healthcare. That's how far we go in this battle. We're not Johnny-come-latelies."
Obama's health care law has also come under fire due to problems consumers have faced in the exchanges operated by the federal government. Healthcare.gov crashed on opening on Oct. 1 and suffered from several problems throughout the first month. Consumers said they did not find the available plans attractive enough.
While the Obama administration claimed Sunday they have achieved the goal of getting the website running smoothly, many users are still unsure of its efficiency.
Dolan also addressed same-sex marriage. "I think maybe we've been out-marketed, sometimes. We've been caricatured as being anti-gay. When you have forces like Hollywood, when you have forces like politicians, when you have forces like some opinion-molders that are behind it, it's a tough battle," he said Sunday.
The church is "pro-traditional-marriage" but "not anti-anybody," Dolan added.
Asked if the gay marriage debate has been settled, Dolan responded, "I don't think it's over. No. I don't think it is."