Monday, August 10, 2009

Caring for the Health of Everyone

Everyone is aware that our nation is in the midst of a great debate regarding the future of health care in our country. I am sure we would not all agree on the appropriate strategies to fix the problem, but I think most of us would agree we have a real problem.

I serve on the board of Missouri Impact, an ecumenical and interfaith legislative advocacy network for social justice. I also serve a chairperson of Missouri Christians Against Racism and Poverty. Both organizations are giving their primary focus to the health care debate. The members of Missouri Impact, out of our various faith traditions, have declared our conviction that health care is basic human right and that it is a moral imperative to advocate for quality, affordable, health care for all with particular concern for the most vulnerable.

The following facts speak to the urgency of this debate:
• almost 50 million Americans are without health coverage
• as 14,000 Americans are losing health care coverage each day
• additional thousands are being denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions
• over 20,000 people die each year for want of health care
• a major cause for bankruptcy is personal and family medical debt

I realize the issues are complex and many of the solutions are costly, but I find it very difficult to believe we cannot find a solution. As a Christian I believe every person should have access to quality, affordable, heath care.

It would be impossible to read the Gospels and not be aware of the compassion and concern Jesus had for all types of illness and health problems. In Matthew 14 the scripture says, And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed. In Matthew 15 it says, Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.

I come to the health care debate seeking to have the same type of compassion and concern that Jesus expressed for all people. I believe God’s people need to be a part of the debate. I believe we should be looking for solutions which are compatible with our beliefs and convictions.

Missouri Impact is urging people of all faiths, and people with no religious affiliation who possess a concern for justice and the common good, to join us in telling our members of Congress to approve legislation which gives all people the opportunity to choose an affordable private or public health insurance plan.

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