ELCA NEWS SERVICE
January 26, 2010
Lutherans, Faith Groups Urge Congress to Finish Health Care Reform
WASHINGTON (ELCA) -- Fifty-six faith organizations, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), sent a Jan. 26 letter to members of Congress asking them to "take heart and move meaningful health care reform forward."
"The ELCA and its predecessor (church) bodies have been advocating for health care reform for decades," said Robert D. Francis, director for domestic policy issues, ELCA Washington Office. "This is the closest we've come to comprehensive reform, certainly in my lifetime, and it's crucial that Congress not walk away at the 11th hour."
Francis said the letter represents a broad set of faith groups uniting around the need for health care reform because "many Americans are 'a pink slip away' from losing coverage, and millions are left out or left behind in the current system."
In the letter the signers cited several reasons why "inaction at this critical moment" is unacceptable:
+ Tens of thousands will continue to die needlessly each year for lack of access to care
+ Tens of millions will remain uninsured and without adequate access to a full range of services
+ Businesses, staggered by increasing employee health costs, will either drop coverage or will be unable to make needed investments
"Turning back now could mean justice delayed for another generation and an unprecedented opportunity lost," according to the letter.
"No bill will be perfect or solve every issue but reform remains necessary and we cannot let this opportunity pass without addressing some of the problems with our current health care system," said Francis.
The letter coincides with an "Interfaith Virtual Vigil of Prayer, Hope and Action." Faith organizations from across the country are taking part in a variety of actions such as sending prayers, sponsoring a vigil or calling members of Congress. The ELCA Washington Office will sponsor its virtual vigil Jan. 27.
The full text of the letter to Congress is at http://www.ELCA.org/advocacy on the ELCA Web site. Information about the "Interfaith Virtual Vigil of Prayer, Hope and Action" is at http://www.faithfulreform.org on the Web.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or firstname.lastname@example.org