This evening the U.S. House of Representatives passed the historic Affordable Health Care for America Act. I offer this podcast reflection on an evening when the House has taken a huge step forward in addressing one of America's most fundamental moral problems - the lack of health care for millions of our people.The audio podcast of my remarks can be downloaded here:
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Below the fold you can find a written transcript of my remarks:
Nearly every religious voice in America, besides those associated with the extreme religious right, has spoken out this year in favor of health care reform. The National of Council of Churches in Christ USA, with the support of Roman Catholics, Muslims, Jews and Protestants from across the theological spectrum, recently released a statement arguing that health care reform is needed "so that all of our neighbors, especially the people living in poverty, children, and the aged, can be assured of the fullness of life that is central to the holy vision of a beloved and peaceable community.”
Now the American people await action by the U.S. Senate. Hopefully, the version adopted by the House and the one under consideration by the Senate will eventually be merged into a bill the president can sign that more clearly respects the right of women to make their own decisions regarding care.
47 million Americans go without health insurance every day and millions more have inadequate coverage. For far too long our nation has allowed this great moral crisis to go unanswered as people have suffered and even died. Today the government of the people of the United States, through a democratic process, have taken an extraordinary step forward to rectify this terrible oversight.
As a minister in the United Church of Christ, I have visited hospitals on a regular basis and talked with parishioners scared about how they will pay their medical bills. Some debate whether or not to seek treatment based simply on the cost alone. In my work with people experiencing homelessness, I’ve seen critically ill people released from hospitals and on to the streets when they truly needed care. I’ve worked with people suffering from serious mental health problems and addiction issues turned away from treatment because they lack insurance or the waiting lists are months long.
We cannot allow this travesty to continue. It is time now for the debate that has lasted since the presidency of Teddy Roosevelt to end. Now is the moment to enact historic reforms that have been advocated by religious communities and progressive Republicans and Democrats alike to provide health care for all our people. This great cause has not come to a conclusion tonight but a giant step forward has been taken and in doing so we honor the best traditions of our nation and the call that Jesus made to his followers to care for the “least of these in society”.
Related Link: Letter to President Obama On The Public Option
Related Link: Health Care and The Christian TraditionPhoto Credit: President Barack Obama delivers a health care address to a joint session of Congress at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., September 9, 2009. September 10, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)