ELCA NEWS SERVICE
September 18, 2009
ELCA Advocacy Director Speaks to Reporters at Health Care Rally
WASHINGTON (ELCA) - The August recess of Congress had a volatile atmosphere surrounding the health care debate, according to the Rev. Andrew Genszler, director of advocacy, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Washington Office, in response to a question from a Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) News reporter.
"All people should be heard, but opinions should lead to constructive discussion by people of good faith, and I think we're still getting there as a country," Genszler said.
In conjunction with a "National Health Care Affordability Day" rally here Sept. 16, Genszler was interviewed by Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly (PBS) and CBN News.
"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. "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."
Regarding cost, Genszler said, "Uninsured people, struggling families, small-business owners, and the very rich probably look at affordability differently. All can be asked to be responsible, each feeling like they are contributing to their own well-being. But many people will need help to afford even basic care."
The Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly story will air Sept. 20. CBN News aired its story Sept. 16.
In a joint statement presented at the event, several organizations, including the ELCA, wrote, "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."
The rally included testimonies from families and remarks from U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. "I have heard their stories … about the current unstable system … and the interruptions they have in their lives, in their ability to plan, because of the way our health insurance system works, or maybe, to put it another way, the way it doesn't work," said Bennet, holding a book of testimonies presented to him at the event.
National Urban League, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, Community Catalyst, Consumers Union, Families USA and People Improving Communities through Organizing (PICO) National Network sponsored the news conference.
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."
The ELCA Washington Office has been working with faith-based coalitions for health reform legislation. One 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.
The joint statement on health care affordability is at http://www.ELCA.org/Our-Faith-In-Action/Justice/Advocacy/Issues/Health-Policy-and-Global-Disease/Health-Care-Reform.aspx on the ELCA Web site.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ELCA News Blog: http://www.elca.org/news/blog