The Church in U.S. Society
On Advocacy on Behalf of the Uninsured
The 214th General Assembly (2002) of the Presbyterian Church (USA):
[Note: The full text of the Rationale for "Resolution on Advocacy on Behalf of the Uninsured" can be found at the Presbyterian Church website: http://www.pcusa.org/ga214/business/13.05.fulltext.pdf. If you don't have access to the Web and would like a paper copy of the full text of this rationale, please call 1-888-728-7228, extension 8018]
Reaffirms past policy statements and resolutions related to healthcare issues [e.g., Life Abundant: Values, Choices and Health Care: The Responsibility and Role of the Presbyterian Church (USA), 200th General Assembly 1988; Resolution on Christian Responsibility and a National Medical Plan, 203rd General Assembly (1991)].
Reaffirms the church’s commitment to advocacy for a national medical plan [Resolution on Christian Responsibility and a National Medical Plan, Minutes, 1991, Part I, pp. 810-20].
Encourages the church to recognize and sustain the efforts of safety-net organizations, including clinics and pharmacies, dedicated to meeting the health needs of the uninsured.
Reaffirms the church's commitment to advocacy at all levels on behalf of low-income and fixed-income immigrant populations who lack health insurance.
Encourages presbyteries, sessions, and the members of congregations to be advocates for universal health care and to support advocacy efforts in their local communities to bring public and private entities together in this effort.
Urges presbyteries, sessions and the members of congregations to be mindful of our church's health policy statements and to establish employment practices to cover all employees (including part-time employees).
Urges presbyteries, sessions and members of congregations to celebrate Health Awareness Week each year and to give emphasis to the need for universal health care in our nation.
Urges presbyteries, sessions to provide educational programs and advocacy efforts on behalf of persons, especially those with low incomes and fixed incomes, without medical insurance.
Urges the Office of Health Ministries USA, in consultation with the Presbyterian Washington Office and other appropriate entities, to produce advocacy materials in appropriate languages on behalf of medically uninsured persons, particularly those with low incomes and fixed incomes. These advocacy materials should be ready for distribution to congregations before the Health Awareness Week of 2003.
Urges the Rural Ministry Office (Evangelism and Church Development) to give special attention to issues of access to and cost of health care in rural communities, particularly among persons with low incomes and fixed incomes.
Directs the Presbyterian Washington Office to:
- Urge adequate funding for the Children' Health Insurance Program (CHIP) so that health-care coverage will be available for all children.
- Urge the expansion of CHIP legislation to include the parents or caregivers of children covered under its provisions.
- Oppose federal tax credits as a method to address the health needs of the uninsured.
- Urge the expansion of Medicaid to insure more low-income and fixed-income persons, including the recently unemployed.
- Encourage members of the Congress to recognize the importance of Universal Health Care - that is, equal, accessible, affordable and high-quality health care for all persons residing in our nation.
Encourages the Mission Responsibility Through Investments (MRTI) program to review health policies of the corporations in which the church makes investments and to advocate for universal health care coverage for employees at all levels.
Urges the Advocacy Committee for Women's concerns (ACWC) and the Advocacy Committee for Racial Concerns (ACREC) to advocate on behalf of low-income and fixed-income persons who lack health insurance.
Encourages Presbyterian Church (USA) seminaries, through the Committee on Theological Education, to deal systematically with health-care issues, especially in the context of courses focused on social justice, community ministry, and congregational care. As well as by ensuring that all students and their dependents have access to affordable, comprehensive health-care coverage.
Urges the Board of Pensions (BOP) to make available health coverage to all church employees (including part-time employees) so that the church can serve as a model to other organizations in the nation for offering universal health-care coverage.
Presbyterian Church (USA)
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the national governing body of the denomination, has a long history of addressing health and healing issues in this nation. As early as 1946, a General Assembly spoke in the name of the Great Physician, Jesus Christ, to call upon the society to marshal its full resources for health for all people.
At the most recent General Assembly (1993), advocacy for universal health care coverage was reinforced. Our Reformed theology as well as various General Assembly policy statements proclaim a Christian responsibility for health that is personal and public. The latter includes acting in the public realm to assure the availability of health-giving resources to all people. Therefore, President Clinton’s aim toward the goal of universal coverage is to be commended and Congress should be urged to enact legislation that will provide guaranteed coverage for all.
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has encouraged all its members to engage in advocacy for universal health coverage as a normative part of their stewardship commitment, and to work with the Administration and Congress for a compassionate and just national health care system.