As followers of Jesus Christ, we believe that health care is a basic human right for all people. We therefore commit to work for universal health care for all people. This is no easy task for those of us in Houston, which has one of the highest rates of uninsured in the nation. According to a recent Houston Chronicle article, ”One in three adults in Harris County lacked health insurance in 2008 while Texas continued to have the highest rate of uninsured residents in the nation, the Census Bureau reported Monday.
Harris County’s overall uninsured rate of 26.9 percent was the seventh-highest among Texas’ 50 most populous counties, according to data from the American Community Survey. The state uninsured rate was 24 percent, compared with the national rate of 15 percent.” To read the full article click here.
This is confusing and deplorable for a city with the largest Medical Center in the entire world!
One small step we are taking as a denomination and congregation is to support universal coverage for all Mennonite Church USA pastors. This is one small step, but it is a step. To read about this plan, known as The Corinthian Plan, click here to read an article in Christian Century magazine.
We also invite you to write your politicians and media outlets and join us in this campaign. For a sample letter provided the Washington office of MCC, click here.
Following is the 2009 resolution in favor of universal health coverage for all people passed by Mennonite Church USA in July 2009.
Resolution on National Healthcare Policy: Next Step
Adopted by Mennonite Church USA Delegate Assembly, Columbus, Ohio
July 4, 2009
- In July of 2005, the Mennonite Church USA delegates approved Healthcare Access Statement: Our Theology, which states that “Because the scriptural test of a just nation is how it treats its weakest members (Micah 6:8, Amos 5:24, Jeremiah 5:26-29) we will be clear and consistent advocates to policymakers on behalf of public health matters and access to healthcare for everyone.”
- Our Healthcare Access Statement also affirms that a biblically-compatible healthcare system would:
- Celebrate God’s generous provision of resources, assuring enough for everyone when shared equitably by all (Genesis 1-2; Leviticus 25; Psalm 35:5-9; 2 Corinthians 8-9);
- Promote the flourishing (shalom) of the whole community, including each of its members (John 13:34-35; Acts 2-4; Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12:12ff);
- Protect the well-being of the weakest and most vulnerable members of society (Deuteronomy 10:17-19, 24:17-22; Psalm 72; Isaiah 1:16-17; Jeremiah 7:5-7; Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 1:46-55, 4:16-21); and
- Cultivate stewardship of God’s resources.
- In 2007, several Mennonite Church agencies affirmed a set of Healthcare Policy Principles, including “Support for a healthcare system in which risks, cost and responsibility are shared by all,” and “Eliminate financial and health status as barriers to healthcare access.” These policies were received by the 2007 Mennonite Church delegate body.
- 45.7 million Americans were uninsured in 2007 and many more are without health insurance today. Uninsured Americans are predominantly members of lower-income households and disproportionately members of minority groups. The uninsured get less medical care and get it later when it is less efficacious. The Institute of Medicine has concluded that every year thousands of Americans die prematurely from lack of health insurance.
- The United States Congress is currently considering legislation that could extend healthcare financing to many of those who currently find it difficult to get access to healthcare because they are uninsured.
Be it thereby resolved that:
- We reaffirm our 2005 Healthcare Access Statement and affirm the 2007 Healthcare Policy Principles.
- We will ask our members and congregations to urge their congressional representatives to support legislation that would extend access to healthcare to all Americans, particularly the poor and disadvantaged, while we engage local healthcare needs.
- We will work together with others to bring about this result.
- We will pray for healthcare access for Americans across our land, as well as those working on behalf of this issue.
The resolution can also be found at:
http://www.mennoniteusa.org/Home/Convention/Delegates/Resolutions/Healthcare/tabid/1211/Default.aspx where it was accessed on September 22, 2009.