In advance of President Obama’s release of budget requests for the 2014 financial year,we ask you to sign a petition calling him to preserve funding for HIV/AIDS programs. We have 30 days to collect 100,000 signatures to garner response from the White House, so please take a moment to SIGN THE PETITION!
Tammy Alexander writes about the Olympic opening ceremonies and health care in the latest Third Way Cafe.
Like millions of others around the world, I sat down in front of my television a few weeks ago to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. I was thoroughly impressed by the show – the theatrics, the music, the dancers – and moved by the spirit of fellowship among the athletes.There is much in our U.S. health care system to be proud of – cutting-edge treatments, new drug research, and many excellent care providers. But we should not let our pride get in the way of seeing our system’s shortfalls and making improvements.
I imagine some of the estimated 42 million viewers in the U.S. were puzzled, however, by the second act of the show which celebrated Great Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). With the ongoing debate in this country over health care, it must be hard for some to understand why anyone would celebrate a government-run health care system.
Read the entire article here.
Late last month, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments about the constitutionality of the health care reform law, known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). On the first of three days of arguments, I stood with other faith-based advocates in front of the court as a public witness of our support for the law.
Read the whole article here.
The Mennonite Central Committee Washington Office joined over sixty national, state and local faith-based organizations in filing an Amicus (Friend of the Court) Brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Medicaid expansions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Also joining were Everence Financial and Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship.
The brief argues that the Medicaid expansions in the ACA more completely address the original intent of Medicaid – to fulfill the moral imperative to assist those who are poor and sick. Read the brief.
Early Saturday February 19 the House of Representatives passed legislation (H.R. 1)
that would cut federal spending by $61 billion. The cuts come mainly in programs dedicated to assistance for vulnerable populations in the U.S. and internationally.
You can let your Senators know that this approach to the budget is neither responsible nor just.
Together, these two areas of the budget represent just 15 percent of U.S. spending. Although the same legislation requests a defense budget 3 percent lower than the President’s 2011 request, it is still $8 billion higher than 2010 levels. Defense spending represents over 50 percent of U.S. discretionary (not mandatory) spending.
The math is questionable: how can we address the deficit without addressing the most expensive portion of the budget? Even beyond military spending, H.R. 1 fails to adequately address a number of root causes of the nation’s deficit.
Tammy Alexander reflects for Third Way on the health care bill, which was signed into law six months ago:
It probably didn’t help that I was waging my own private health care struggle at the time. When a laboratory assistant sucked three vials of blood out of my arm, I was perfectly calm. I felt considerably more lightheaded, however, when I received the bill and discovered they were also going to suck $500 out of my bank account. Those terms ‘coinsurance’ and ‘deductible’ seem perfectly innocuous until you see them at the bottom of an insurance statement…
In September, several new provisions of the health care reform law took effect, including:
- Coverage for children with pre-existing conditions
- Coverage for young adults up to age 26
- Elimination of lifetime maximum benefits
- No more unjustified “recissions” (retroactively rescinding a policy after someone gets sick)
- No more penalties for using an out-of-network emergency room
- No charge for some preventive care
These provisions represent a step in the right direction, but we have a long way to go.
Ken Nafziger writes about greed in Third Way Cafe. Here is an excerpt:
In the national outrage over taxes, the shrillest seem bent on paying fewer taxes while keeping the services to which they are entitled.
Greed also showed up at discussions on health care. Congress seemed to find it difficult to offer us a health care plan similar to the one our taxes purchase for them. Questions including references to the “least of these,” or “am I my brother’s keeper?” got buried in an avalanche of misinformation about death panels and other concerns.
Health care reform, now that it has passed and been signed into law, is still unfinished business. How will we engage in applying and refining this law? How will we care for those in need when something is required of us – money, or place, or position, or access, for example?
Click here to read the rest of the article.