TIME

President Obama’s decision to speak before the Catholic Health Association on Tuesday about the morality of caring for society’s vulnerable is politically strategic. Coming not long before an expected Supreme Court ruling on national subsidies in his signature health care reform, the speech highlights key supporters in the Catholic community for Obama’s agenda ahead of Pope Francis’ September visit to the U.S.

While the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops opposed the Affordable Care Act over its contraception and abortion coverage, the Catholic Health Association broke rank and consistently supported the law for making practical progress on helping working-class families and the poor. Obama even gave CHA president Sister Carol Keehan one of the 21 pens he used to sign the bill into law in 2010.

More recently, the CHA filed an amicus brief defending the law in the pending Supreme Court case, King v. Burwell, that could invalidate federal…

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