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.
Souls to Enroll: Now is the time to get covered!
** Window: November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017 for coverage beginning January 1, 2018 **
Open Enrollment is the time each year when you can sign up for health insurance if you don’t already have coverage through your job, Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, or another sort of health coverage. The majority of states are on the federal exchange and use HealthCare.gov. (En español: CuidadoDeSalud.gov.)
The enrollment period is half as long as in previous years and there’s only one deadline, so you must take action by December 15 or risk not having coverage in 2018 and having to pay a penalty.
That means it’s up to all of us to get the facts out.
Here’s what we need people to know: You must take action to sign up for coverage by December 15 for 2018 coverage, and because of financial help, most people can find a plan for $50 to $100 per month. Faith communities can play an important role in healthcare enrollment. Because many faith traditions view healthcare as a right, it is up to faith leaders to encourage their congregations and communities to get covered today.
Here's how you can help:
Download the Souls to Enroll Toolkit - This great toolkit from the Interfaith Healthcare Coalition has the information you need to help your congregation get enrolled, including:
- Open Enrollment Overview
- Key States and Deadlines
- Faith Language about Healthcare
- How Can I Help My Community Get Covered?
- Facts about Open Enrollment and More
Join the faith leader calls: Throughout November and December Faith Leaders and Members of Congress will offer a series of conference calls to support your enrollment work. Dial 712-451-0436 with access code 845827 to join on:
- November 6 at 7:30 PM ET
- November 20 at 7:30 PM ET
- December 4 at 7:30 PM ET
- December 11 at 7:30 PM ET
- Spread the word on social media: Use #SoulsToEnroll, #Souls2Enroll, and #GetCovered,
- Share this UCC commentary online or as a bulletin insert - Your Health Matters: Get Covered
- Hold a Souls to Enroll Sunday - Starting Sunday, November 12-December 10, dedicate a service to uplifting health care enrollment. Place enrollment info in bulletins, invite someone to your church to speak about ACA, post enrollment to social media pages, hang up a poster, ask congregants to pledge to get covered and more. (You can find ideas and language in the toolkit.)
Cuts to health care subsidies? We say no!
Health care should not be a privilege for the few. Urge Congress to pass the Alexander-Murray deal without delay!
Protect Children's Health Care
Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is set to expire at the end of September. Our scriptures and sacred teachings inspire a special concern for those experiencing vulnerability, such as children. No family should have to face the terrible decision between putting food on the table, paying rent, or providing health coverage for their child. Funding CHIP is part of our sacred obligation to care for one another.
- Act Now Protect Children’s Healthcare!
- Our DC office is engaged in an interfaith effort to protect CHIP. Read the letter they sent to Congress.
Traci Blackmon among clergy arrested in D.C. denouncing 'sinful and immoral' health care reform
Read more via UC News and watch video clip of Rev. Blackmon's remarks outside Senator Mitch McConnell's office, prior to her arrest:
"Call your God who your God is: capitalism" pic.twitter.com/WvU0okh0y0— Jeff Stein (@JStein_Vox) July 13, 2017
UCC Perspectives on Efforts to Repeal and Replace the ACA
Ten priorities for a faithful health care system
As people of faith, we believe that any change, repeal, or repair of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) must include comprehensive health care legislation in a single bill that
meets these ten priorities for a faithful health care system. These priorities arise from a shared commitment to a faith-inspired moral vision of a health care system that offers health, wholeness, and human dignity for all.
The scriptures of the Abrahamic traditions of Christians, Jews, and Muslims, as well as the sacred teachings of other faiths, understand that addressing the general welfare of the nation includes giving particular attention to people experiencing poverty or sickness. For their sake and for the common good, we must continue to make progress toward a U.S. health care system that is inclusive, equitable, affordable, accountable, and accessible for all.
- Preserve the coverage gains made by the ACA and further decrease the number of Americans without health insurance.
- Preserve the funding for Medicaid expansion and expand the program in all states.
- Ensure that reasonable revenue is in the federal budget to pay for health care for all.
- Uphold the purpose of Medicaid by refraining from structural changes to how the program is funded. Changing the funding structure to a block grant or per capita cap would impose rigid limits on the amount of federal money available to states for Medicaid, endangering the health and well-being of children, older adults, people with disabilities, and their families.
- Ensure that insurance premiums and cost sharing are truly affordable to all. Policies to improve affordability must prioritize those with the greatest need, not those with the means to put money in a health savings account or wait for tax deductions.
- Maintain health services and benefits currently provided by the ACA including access to essential medicines, mental health services, preventive services, pre-natal services, and other key services necessary to maintain health.
- Maintain guaranteed issue for those with pre-existing conditions. Do not quarantine the millions of Americans with pre-
existing conditions in unaffordable high risk insurance pools.
- Prevent insurance companies from discriminating against women, the elderly, and people in poverty.
- Create effective mechanisms of accountability for insurance companies and not allow them to have annual or lifetime caps on expenditures.
- Continue to allow children under the age of 26 to be covered by their parents’ insurance.
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.)
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.