Support Health Care Reform – Contact Congress Today

From the Washington Office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)    

Support Health Care Reform – Contact Congress Today

ACTION: Contact your member of Congress before Saturday, November
7th, and urge him/her to support H.R. 3962 – "The Affordable Health
Care for America Act."

U.S. Capitol Switchboard – (202) 224-3121

For over 60 years, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assemblies have called for reform of the U.S. health system, urging the establishment of a national medical plan that will ensure health coverage for all persons residing in the United States.

The most recent General Assembly (2008) "endorse[d] in principle the provision of single-payer universal health care reform in which health care services are privately provided and publicly financed… as the program that best responds to the moral imperative of the gospel." [Minutes, 2008, p. 1133]
The U.S. House of Representatives is winding up its health care deliberations. "The Affordable Health Care for America Act" [H.R. 3962] blends and updates the three versions of previous bills passed this summer by the House Ways and Means; Energy and Commerce; and Education and Labor Committees. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on H.R. 3962 on Saturday, November 7th.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) believes that any reform plan should be guided by these values:
o Universal Accessibility: We believe that all people possess inherent worth as children of God, and that God's promise extends to all. Health coverage must be available to all persons living in the United States, regardless of income, race or ethnicity, geography, age, gender, employment status or health status [Minutes, 1994, p. 574; Minutes, 2002, p. 634]
o Equity: Because the right to acquire adequate health care springs out of our worth as living human beings, rather than out of any particular merit or achievement belonging to some but not to others, adequate health care should be defined equally for all people. [Minutes, 1976, pp. 203-207]
o Responsible Financing: Since society has an interest in the health of its people, those individuals and organizations who can pay should help to finance the care for those individuals and families who cannot pay [Minutes, 1991, p. 817]. While concerns for the costs of health care are appropriate, these concerns must continually be balanced against the objectives of access to adequate, quality care for all. The sacrifice of access and quality at the shrine of cost containment is too high a price to pay and should not be tolerated [Minutes, 1988, p. 525].
"The Affordable Health Care for America Act" [H.R. 3962] reflects these values and will move the U.S. health care system a step in the right direction to provide access to quality, affordable health care for all. Most of the bill's provisions would go into effect in 2013.
This bill will:

  • Increase the number of legal U.S. residents with health insurance by 36 million by 2019.
  • Expand Medicaid to include all individuals under age 65 (children, pregnant women, parents, and adults without dependent children) with incomes up to 150% of the poverty level.
  • Provide subsidies to help lower income individuals and families purchase insurance and to lower their cost sharing obligations.
  • Require individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a tax of 2.5% of their adjusted gross income above the income tax filing threshold up to the cost of an average insurance policy.
  • Require employers with payrolls exceeding $500,000 per year to provide health insurance to their employees or pay a penalty (86% of American businesses would be exempt from this requirement, though most employees would be covered).
  • Prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions.
  • Eliminate underwriting based on health status, gender or occupation.
  • Limit out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Remove lifetime or annual coverage caps.
  • Define "essential" benefits that must be covered by insurance plans.
  • Create a National Health Insurance Exchange through which individual and employers can purchase qualified insurance, including from private health plans and the public health insurance option.
  • Create a public health insurance option to be offered through the National Health Insurance Exchange that must meet the same requirements as private plans regarding benefit levels, provider networks, consumer protections, and cost-sharing.

Contact your member of Congress before Saturday, November 7th, and urge him/her to support H.R. 3962 – "The Affordable Health Care for America Act."
U.S. Capitol Switchboard – (202) 224-3121

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)