Faith Leaders Oppose Senate Healthcare Bill

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For Immediate Release: June 22, 2017
Ashley Wilson, [email protected], 202-601-7856

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the unveiling of the Senate GOP healthcare plan, faith leaders from the Interfaith Healthcare Coalition released the following statements:

Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice:

“The ‘plan’ unveiled by Senate Republicans today continues to be un-American. Their mission is clear: the GOP wants to push people off of healthcare coverage in order to give more tax breaks to the very wealthy. This bill is a crass political calculation carried out by 13 white, male Senators who are out of touch with the realities of millions of ordinary families in every state. They are about raw power – not working for the common good. Democracy works best when there are hearings, debate, and discussion to craft a bill that works for everyone, not just a few Senators.

“My faith challenges me to heal the sick and care for the widow and the orphan. This Republican bill does the opposite. This is not the faithful way forward. We urge a NO vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act.”

Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, Director, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness:

“The draconian cuts to heath care are an unacceptable threat to God’s people, particularly those who have the least access to resources in our society. Passing this bill means that people will die from lack of healthcare, a reality that we as Presbyterians cannot accept. We urge all Senators of good conscience to recognize their responsibility to vote NO on the Better Care Reconciliation Act.”

Barbara Weinstein, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism:

“We vehemently oppose the Senate health care proposal released today. The bill’s devastating cuts and restructuring of Medicaid will profoundly and negatively impact our nation’s most vulnerable—low-income Americans, the elderly, children, and people with disabilities. Jewish tradition’s emphasis on caring for the sick and uplifting those in need inspires us to demand that the Senate reject this harmful legislation and work to expand, not restrict, access to affordable health care.”

Rev. David Beckman, President, Bread for the World:

“Ending the Medicaid expansion at a slower rate still means that millions of Americans will have their health care coverage taken away. Senators who support this bill will be voting to take away health insurance from the elderly, the disabled, and children. Medical bills often drive families, especially those who struggle to make ends meet, into hunger and poverty. Instead of making our health care system worse, Congress should strive to improve the system so that all Americans have the health care coverage they need.”

Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland Tune, Director, Ecumenical Poverty Initiative:

“We are deeply disappointed in the Senate version of the AHCA, which will negatively impact millions of Americans including the poorest in our nation, children and the elderly. The cuts to Medicaid are reprehensible and the planned phaseout will put people’s lives in jeopardy and make America sick again. It seems that the thirteen Senators who drafted this bill have had their moral compass demagnetized by political posturing, an unhealthy desire to dismantle, rather than fix, the Affordable Care Act, and to pay for tax breaks for the wealthiest in our nation– all at the expense of the American people. This is both shameful and unjust. We call on U.S. Senators to put people first. Reject this bill by voting against it. Lives are at stake and so is the moral fabric of our nation.”

Rev. Jason Carson Wilson, Justice & Peace Policy Fellow, United Church of Christ Justice & Witness Ministries:

“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were promised to us all. Deep Medicaid cuts are destined to bring death and sadness to many. Children, seniors and people living with disabilities’ lives hang in the balance. As a follower of Jesus, I’m called to comfort the afflicted. Drastic Medicaid cuts will only create more chaos and pain for those already facing challenges. What would Jesus do? He would champion healthcare for all.”

Diane Randall, Executive Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation:

“The Senate version of the AHCA is beyond irresponsible; it is immoral. The draconian cuts and restructuring of Medicaid do nothing to address instability in the marketplace or lower premiums. Instead, states will be forced to eliminate health services, leaving millions without access to needed care. These Medicaid cuts will fall particularly hard on low-income children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Never before have I seen legislation that would do so much harm to senators’ own constituents, especially for families struggling to make ends meet. Rather than cutting Medicaid in a rushed and secretive process, Congress should work in a bipartisan and responsible manner to truly address the real problems within America’s health care system.”

Larry Couch, Director, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd:

“Learning about the proposed deep cuts in Medicaid passed by the House of Representatives, the American people looked to the Senate.  Sadly, the Senate plan proposes even deeper cuts in Medicaid.  This wanton disregard for human life must be stopped.  Millions of children living in poverty, people with disabilities, and older people in nursing homes will be denied life-saving medicine and care.  Call your legislators today to stop this vicious attack on the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

Albert Pless, President of American Muslim Health Professionals:

“As an organization that strives to care for the most vulnerable members of our society, discussions surrounding the repeal of the ACA have been deeply distressing. Given that ACA has impacted the lives of many – most notably, those hard-to-reach members of our community who would otherwise not know where to go to begin the process of obtaining health coverage, it is critical we oppose any bill that seeks to eliminate care. We urge all Senators to vote against the Better Care Reconciliation Act. 

Sheila Gilbert, National President, Society of St. Vincent DePaul:

“The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, long known throughout the country for providing emergency assistance to the poor and the vulnerable on a daily basis, is stunned by the Senate’s proposed health care legislation.   After making such significant advances as a country in extending this fundamental human and moral right to health coverage to all, regardless of one’s economic status, it is inconceivable to me that we could be on the verge of rolling this all back.   It is callous and mean-spirited, and not consistent in any way with my Catholic faith and Jesus’s call for a preferential option for the poor.  We know firsthand from our daily work with the poor how devastating the loss of coverage would be to them, their families and their children.  And we know we will also be poorer as a country and a civil society that professes to care for the least among us if we follow the path laid out by the Senate legislation.”

Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO of Faith in Public Life:

“This death care bill is just as immoral as the version that passed the House of Representatives in May. It still strips away health care from those Scripture tells us to care for first: the poor, elderly and children. It still increases costs for seniors. It still gives the very wealthiest a massive tax cut. Part of loving our neighbors is ensuring they have access to quality, affordable health care. I pray that senators will listen to their consciences and their constituents, and defeat this immoral bill.”

Communities of faith are strongly opposed to Medicaid cuts and are taking action throughout the country. If you are interested in learning more about our efforts or scheduling interviews with any faith leaders, please contact Ashley Wilson at [email protected] or 202-301-7856.