2009 Health Care Reform
Media Resources: Video, Print, Audio
Background on Health Care Reform
National Health Care Discussion
The 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted a resolution
committing the church to advocate that "each person should have ready access to basic health care services that include preventative, acute and chronic physical and mental health care at affordable cost."
Historically, the ELCA and its predecessor bodies have been advocating for health care reform for decades. During the past year, the ELCA Washington Office has worked with faith-based coalitions for health reform legislation. There have been a number of efforts to discuss the ready access of affordable health care.
Most recently, the ELCA signed on to a faith letter
to members of Congress asking them to complete the task of health care reform for the millions of people who would be left out or left behind in our current health care system. You can read the ELCA Action Alert here
A National Day of Action was held on Oct. 20. Religious leaders and others gathered on Capitol Hill to pray and offer the moral case for improvements to health care legislation that would allow affordable coverage for low-wage working families. The press event was followed by an "Interfaith Service of Remembrance and Hope" at the National City Christian Church. A second call-in was held on that day and generated over 4,500 faith calls to Representatives and Senators.
Another such collective effort was in a nationwide faith call-in held Sept. 15. More than 20,000 calls were made to members of Congress, urging support for health care legislation.
On Sept. 16, a "National Health Care Affordability Day
" rally was held in Washington D.C. The Rev. Andrew Genszler, ELCA Director of Advocacy, was interviewed by Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly (PBS) and CBN News at the event. He also offered a prayer for the event.
"People of faith care about health care because Jesus was a healer, and God cares about people in poverty. For Christians, those two scriptural values converge in this public issue," Genszler said to reporters. "Through congregational and health ministries, Lutherans also know the front lines of what living with marginal or no health care can do to people and families."A joint statement on affordability
was also presented at the event which is signed by several organizations, including the ELCA. "We believe it is essential that the responsibility to purchase health coverage come with strong consumer protections and adequate subsidies that make it possible for families to obtain quality coverage at a cost they can afford," said the signers: AARP, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, Community Catalyst, Consumers Union, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Families USA, National Urban League, and PICO National Network. Read the full statement
Media Coverage: Lutherans and Health Care Reform
January, 2010 – Top Faith Leaders Encourage Obama to Use Full Influence to Pass Health Reform
- Faith in Public Life
November, 2009 - Bishop Mark W. Holmerud and Bishop John T. Steinbock: Congress must reform health care now fresnobee.com, California newspaper
November, 2009 – Lutherans in the know The Lutheran
September, 2009 – Crist at health-care summit The Lutheran
September, 2009 – Painting for patients The Lutheran
August 28, 2009 – “Reid says Evangelical Lutherans support government health care reform”
August 28, 2009 – “Interfaith Center Holds Second Forum with Sen. Warner, Presents Faithful Vision Petition”
August 16, 2009 – “There is much support for fixing health system”
by Marissa Harris, The Patriot News
August 15, 2009 – “Faith and values: Health care action needed because it’s right thing to do”
by the Rev. Jessica Crist, Billings Gazette
August 11, 2009 – “Local Rallies Show Divide Over Health Care Reform Debate”
featuring Pastor Richard Baumann, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Allentown, Pa.
July 25, 2009 – “Pulling Together On Health Care”
by Jacqueline Salmon, Washington Post
, featuring Rev. Jennifer Thomas, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Kansas City, Mo.
July 14, 2009 – “Pursuing the possible: Religious voices on health care”
by Robert D. Francis, The Christian Century
June 21, 2009 – “Addressing health care”
by the Rev. Peter Rogness, Star Tribune
Background on Health Care Reform The Urgency
“Health care in the United States, its territories, and Puerto Rico suffers from a prolonged crisis. People unnecessarily endure poor health. Rising health care costs leave a growing number of people without adequate health care. Health care resources often are rationed based on ability to pay rather than need. Finding access to quality health care services is difficult for many. The growing number of elderly people adds another stress on health care resources. Fear and self-interest defeat social justice in the political processes of health care reform” (“Caring for Health: Our Shared Endeavor
”). Additionally, the costs of health care threaten the financial health of millions of individuals and families and the long-term financial stability of our nation. And this entire situation is exacerbated by rising unemployment and the current economic recession.The Opportunity
Despite the urgency of America’s health care crisis, true reform has eluded policymakers for decades. However, 2009 has the chance to be different. Perhaps now more than ever, a wide majority of the public and most policy makers and major stakeholders share the sincere belief that fundamental reform of the nation’s health care system is essential and possible.The Call to Action
The ELCA social statement on economic life, Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All
, calls for “addressing the barriers individuals face in preparing for and sustaining a livelihood (such as lack of ... health care).” It also calls for “public policies that ensure adequate social security, unemployment insurance, and health care coverage.”