For decades, the Catholic bishops of the United States have been and continue to be
consistent advocates for comprehensive health care reform that leads to health care for
all, including the weakest and most vulnerable. The bishops want to support health care
reform. We have in the past and we always must insist that health care reform excludes
abortion coverage or any other provisions that threaten the sanctity of life.
As Congress begins debate on health care reform the Catholic bishops of the United
States offer the following criteria for fair and just health care reform. Health care reform
needs to reflect basic ethical principles. We offer these as a guide:
• a truly universal health policy with respect for human life and dignity;
• access for all with a special concern for the poor and inclusion of legal
• pursuing the common good and preserving pluralism including freedom of
conscience and variety of options; and
• restraining costs and applying them equitably across the spectrum of
FROM THE NATIONAL JEWISH DEMOCRATIC COUNCIL:
Forty-seven million Americans are already without health insurance, and every day 14,000 more lose their coverage. In the last 10 years, premiums have doubled, out-of-pocket costs have increased by a third, and deductibles have continued to rise.
Our tradition teaches us to pursue justice. Yet it is not a just society when families are forced to choose between paying their mortgages or paying for prescription drugs. It is not a just society when small businesses must choose between being profitable or providing coverage to their employees. It is not a just society when people are denied health insurance because they have a pre-existing condition for which they need medical care. Equal access to safe and affordable health care is an essential social justice issue of our time.
We can do better than this – we must do better than this.
Our representatives are working on health insurance reform. Presidents since Teddy Roosevelt have tried and failed to reform our system, because they’ve been caught up in political point scoring or derailed by special interests who want nothing more than to maintain the status quo.
Today, we are closer than ever before to reform that will finally give people in all communities access to affordable health insurance. It’s reform that will prioritize primary care, stop insurance companies from denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition, and help all of us live healthier lives.
But just like so many other things worth fighting for, comprehensive reform won’t come easily. The status quo isn’t giving up – and neither can we.
Reform is a fiscal imperative. We know that over the long term, health insurance reform will lead to faster economic growth in our community, greater employment opportunities, higher take-home pay for our workers, and a more level playing field between small and large businesses.
Reform is also a moral imperative. We are not a nation that willingly accepts 47 million uninsured men, women and children - we will not allow families go without the coverage they deserve – not when there is so much momentum behind reform.
We're all living with the consequences of a broken system: Democrats, Republicans, Christians, Muslims, and Jews. And though we might not all agree on the exact solution, we all agree something has to be done. The question is: will we keep pushing forward, or will we relent and postpone reform for another year? During the debate in the coming days and weeks, we are hopeful that Members of Congress will have the courage to stand strong for the families and workers who are struggling.
As rabbis from across America, we know that we are so close to making sure Jewish Americans – and all Americans – have access to the care they need. We must find a way to get it done. We call on Congress to take action and ensure that affordable health care is available for all Americans.