Written by Gregg Brekke
Citing both specificity and urgency, General Synod 27 passed without amendment Tuesday a resolution "Calling for the Support of H.R. 676 – Single Payer National Health Care Reform to Advance Health Equity for All and to Eliminate Health Disparities."
Mary Beth Cross, a delegate from the Nebraska Conference, said after a unanimous vote out of committee Monday that the time to rally is now. "This is a Gospel-mandated mission of faith for everyone to make sure that universal health care becomes a reality."
Several delegates expressed an urgency for action within the next four months, before another election cycle begins. They concurred that it was crucial for the resolution to support a specific action – H.R. 676, in this case – rather than a general endorsement of universal health care.
The resolution was submitted by the Council on Racial and Ethnic Ministries (COREM). Key among its proponents has been Barbara Baylor, UCC Minister for Health Care Justice.
"We lift up our (belief) that all persons deserve and must have quality, accessible, affordable health care and related social services – including mental-health service and full accessibility for the disabled," said Baylor.
H.R. 676 (the U.S. National Health Insurance Act) is a bill introduced by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan to create a single-payer, publicly financed, privately delivered universal health-care program. Its goal is to cover all Americans without charging co-pays or deductibles and guarantees access to the highest quality and most affordable health-care services regardless of employment, ability to pay or pre-existing health conditions.
In a "single payer" system established by the government, one entity handles all billing and payment for health-care services. The current system involves several thousand payers. Reports suggest that administrative waste accounts for roughly 31 percent of the money spent on health care.