Supreme Court Amicus Brief (2012)

This brief was submitted on behalf of diverse religious organizations to inform the Supreme Court about the moral imperatives that impel the faith communities to support the Medicaid expansions and improvements in the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). The over 60 amici organizations were coalition partners through Faithful Reform in Health Care and/or the Washington Interreligious Staff Community (WISC) Health Care Working Group.


Faithful Reform in Health Care, founded in 2007, is the largest interfaith coalition of national, state, and local organizations, congregations, and individuals working together around a shared moral vision for the kind of health system that would include everyone. Comprising Protestants, Catholics, Evangelical Christians, Jews, Muslims, Unitarians, Buddhists, and others, the coalition has focused on educating its members about the challenges in U.S. health care, as well as the needed changes in public policy that could lead to the creation of a health care system that better meets the needs of all. In addition to advocating system reform generally, when necessary, the coalition has engaged in educational and advocacy efforts specifically focused on protecting, strengthening, and expanding programs such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (“CHIP”), and Medicare. Supporting the Medicaid improvements and expansions in the ACA is consistent with the Coalition’s history and mission.

The Washington Interreligious Staff Community (WISC) Health Care Working Group provides a forum through which leaders in the Washington, D.C. offices of national faith groups connect to one another around numerous health care issues. The missional activities of the group include maintaining relationships with the legislative and executive branches of the federal government; communicating legislative activities to their constituencies; communicating moral priorities to the President and Congress; and engaging in education and advocacy around health care issues that are addressed by the social justice policies of the member organizations. This group has consistently served as the link between federal policy and outreach and the work of the Faithful Reform coalition, including efforts that focus on Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare.

Amici believe that passage of the ACA, which included important Medicaid improvements and expansions, marked a significant step toward the faith community’s long-held vision of a system of health care that includes, and works well for, all.  Amici celebrate the ACA as the first time our country successfully made a national legislative commitment to develop a health care system that will give almost everyone in the United States access to our nation’s abundant health care resources.

For decades, faith communities have worked both individually and collectively to move our nation toward a more inclusive and just system of health care—with particular focus on the poor and vulnerable. Since 2008 amici have been guided in their work by A Faith-Inspired Vision of Health Care, an interfaith statement of the shared value of health care for all. Hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals representing every state signed on to this vision statement, and Faithful Reform in Health Care delivered it to President Obama and Members of Congress on several occasions to help identify the faith community’s perspective on how a present day government might respond to the moral imperative of health care for all.

This vision states, “As people of faith, we envision a society where each person is afforded health, wholeness, and human dignity.”  That vision embraces a system of health care that is: inclusive, affirming that health care is a shared responsibility grounded in our common humanity; affordable, confirming that health care must contribute to the common good by being affordable for individuals, families and society as a whole; accessible, ensuring that all persons have the health services that provide necessary care and contribute to wellness; and accountable, offering a quality, equitable and sustainable means of keeping us healthy as individuals and as a community.

Amici have been among those at the heart of support for meaningful health care reform in the United States. Grounded in values that inspire them to work on behalf of the common good, amici have promoted a moral vision for the nation’s health care future and raised voices in support of affordable quality health care for all. Such commitment is a logical extension of amici’s calling to bring comfort and healing to those who suffer, with particular concern for the poor and vulnerable who are served by Medicaid and for whom the ACA’s Medicaid provisions are particularly significant.