The Church has always understood itself to be an extension of Jesus Christ's ministry in the world. The diakonia of the early church — the ministry of healing, service, care, compassion and hospitality— served the needy neighbor in Christ. For more than thirty-five years the General Synod of the United Church of Christ has advocated for health care as a right and a priority for all people.
Interfaith Leaders urge Congress not to repeal the Affordable Care Act - Except from letter to Congress (12/16/16)
We're joining our interfaith partners in calling on our Federal Officials not to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) unless there is an equitable and sensible replacement in the same legislation. There are many things we can do to improve and fix the ACA, but repealing parts of the law through reconciliation without a simultaneous replacement would put millions of people at risk.
The scriptures of the Abrahamic traditions of Christians, Jews, and Muslims, in addition to the sacred teachings of other faiths, understand that addressing the general welfare of the nation includes giving particular attention to the poor and the sick. A hasty decision to repeal the ACA before any replacement plan is ready would not only set our country back, but also cause untold suffering, disruption, and anxiety in the lives of millions of Americans who have gained coverage through the ACA. This is bad for their health and the health of our nation.
Repealing only the fiscal parts of the ACA through reconciliation could leave up to 29.8 million additional people without health insurance. This loss of coverage would place hardship and financial difficulty onto millions of Americans and likely lead to thousands of avoidable deaths. Even if Congress votes in January 2017 to delay the repeal, the uncertainty of having no replacement plan will cause chaos in the insurance market and anxiety for the millions who will lose coverage. As people of various faith traditions, we come together to urge you to be concerned for those who would lose access to affordable health insurance and care.
Our concerns are neither political nor ideological. Faith communities are committed to a faith-inspired moral vision of healthcare that offers health, wholeness, and human dignity for all. We see millions of people who may be harmed by repeal without a replacement because they are currently experiencing the benefits of recent health reforms:
- Children with pre-existing conditions who can no longer be excluded from coverage on their parents’ health insurance
- Young adults who now have coverage on their parents’ policies
- Senior adults who have received rebates for prescription drugs that had to be purchased once they reached the coverage gap; and senior adults who are now receiving annual preventive care check-ups with no out-of-pocket expenses
- Women who can no longer be charged higher premiums because of their gender, and who are receiving mammograms and pap smears with no out of pocket expenses.
- Low-income working families living on up to 133% of the federal poverty level who have access to health care in states that have expanded Medicaid
- Persons with cancer and other serious medical conditions who will no longer be denied coverage by insurers; and persons who can no longer be dropped from coverage when they get sick
- Middle-income families without employer-sponsored insurance who will have subsidies to help purchase affordable insurance in the new exchanges (marketplaces)
For people in our communities, political ideology is far less important than the life or death matter of access to affordable healthcare. We people of faith and our members throughout the country call on Congress to continue guiding us toward a moral vision of a U.S. health care system that is inclusive, affordable, accessible, and accountable.
North Carolina woman living proof of Affordable Care Act benefits
June 11, 2015 - Affordable health insurance for millions of Americans is in jeopardy, pending a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court expected to be announced by the end of the month. People like Minnie White, a former United Church of Christ employee in North Carolina, who rely on the subsidies in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to help pay insurance costs will be affected. (Read more.)
Climate Change, Environmental Health and Health Equity
The quality of the environment directly affects a person’s health status and plays a major role in quality of life and years of healthy life lived. Safe air, land, and water are fundamental to a healthy community environment. Learn more.
Health Equity and the Supreme Court Decision on Contraception
The Supreme Court decision giving some corporations the right to deny coverage of certain types of contraception to their employees based on religious freedom will have a great impact on women of color. Although, the ruling does not single out women of color, our political and economic realities tell us that women of color often bear the brunt of the negative impacts of restrictions on women’s health. Learn more.
Because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many Americans now have health care insurance that will assist them in gaining access to health services - a great first step. Unfortunately, many of those who have insurance face access challenges in finding, locating, and getting to a health provider to acquire appropriate care from the health care system in a timely manner.
Why are people struggling to attain quality care? Learn more about health Equity.
The UCC Collegium of Officers invites and encourages all conferences, associations and congregations to participate and engage in dialogue and discussion using the Just Eating Curriculum.
This wonderful curriculum calls us to integrate the commitments and practices of our faith into the way we eat. We think it will be a great enhancement to your work around food justice and sustainability issues. Learn more.
UCC Faith Community Nurse Network
The UCC Faith Community Nurse Network, formerly the Parish Nurse Network, aims to promote health ministry and parish nursing in congregations and communities, as the visible presence and voice of parish nurses in the United Church of Christ. Learn more and join the network.