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January 28, 2011

Obama Admin. Pulls Faith Leaders on Health Care Bill

As Republicans work to repeal the health care law, the Obama administration is recruiting faith leaders to reaffirm the law passed in March.

“Being a pastor is like being a parent: You’re only doing as good as your most vulnerable family member,” the Rev. Joel Hunter said Thursday in a conference call supporting the Affordable Care Act.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hosted the conference call including leaders from several denominations. The HHS Department believes that faith and community leaders play an important role influencing community opinion on the health care reform bill.

Faith leaders on the call seemed to affirm Sebelius’ stance that the health care bill is already helping members of their congregations. All affirmed their commitment to educate their congregations about the benefits of the health care reform bill.

“We have been told that it’s very important for us to lead in sharing for our church the affirmation of health care reform and how the health benefits are improving the lives of people and protecting all of our citizens,” said the Rev. Barry Howe, an Episcopal bishop of west Missouri.

Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman of Minnesota’s Temple Israel shared a personal example of using her discretionary fund to underwrite a woman’s desperate need for prescription medicine. “The religious community cannot foot this bill. It has to be the federal government,” she said, indicating that the needs are vast.

Hunter said he was “grateful” for the protections the health care bill offered to the vulnerable members of his congregation. He choked up briefly as he spoke about his own granddaughter, who recently succumbed to a rare form of brain cancer. “I cannot imagine adding financial worries of financial ruin to the grief that we had to go through,” said Hunter, who is pastor of a megachurch in Florida. “And that’s what a lot of our families do. It’s just not right from a pastoral standpoint.”

A Politico reporter attempted to ask Hunter how he handles division in his congregation over lingering concerns with federal abortion funding, but Hunter did not remain on the call for questions.

Repeal proponents are expected to tackle specific points in the health care bill if full repeal efforts stall, and abortion is expected to become a debate point again as lawmakers also draft replacement legislation to coordinate with repeal efforts. Republicans introduced the No Tax-Payer Funding for Abortion Act last week.

Sebelius reiterated the comments President Obama made affirming the Affordable Care Act in his State of the Union address on Tuesday. “Instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let’s fix what needs fixing and let’s move forward,” Obama said in his speech.

However, on Thursday Senators Jim DeMint and Mitch McConnell introduced separate repeal bills following the House’s vote to repeal earlier this month. “It’s time to start over,” DeMint said of health care reform.

Comments

It was bad enough for Hunter to support this Obamacare abomination a year ago. We all knew it would be horrible. Now that we are starting "to see what's in the bill," as Pelosi accidentally said, it turns out it's worse than we warned. And Hunter STILL is shilling for it?? Sheesh!

Health Care is needed for all, including unborn babies. We've got to get it right...Pleasing in God's sight.

What else is required for existence, and why should others be expected to supply it for me? God does not tell us that others should take care of all of our needs, such as food, a roof over our heads, medicine, etc. Nowhere in the Bible does it say society should supply these for everyone. In fact, 2Thess 3:10 says "For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either."

The Bible says to work to provide for ourselves.
The Bible talks about helping the widow, but also says she should be taken care of by family first.

@Barbara, not all people in need have families that can adequately take care of them. I can find bible verses to support my point of view, too. 'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' We could play that game forever, both taking scripture that fits our stance, when there is not a verse in there that directly addresses the issue of universal heath care.

I am very confused by Christians reluctance to support a government who is trying to provide health care to people. With health care costs skyrocketing and more and more people unable to pay insurance, seems like a natural Christian instinct to try to help.

I wonder if the Rabbi realizes what she said. "The religious community cannot foot this bill. It has to be the federal government." The religious community IS footing this bill! -- Her congregants are paying taxes through the nose to have those dollars wasted by federal bureaucrats for less quality results. And this will only get worse, not better. We'd ALL be better off if each religious community had lower taxes and then took care of their own folks! Instead, the religious community has abdicated this responsibility to the federal government. I'd like to remind her this is NOT a scriptural approach - neither in the Old OR New Testament, where Jews and Christians are instructed to look after their own.

Well, Barbara, I for one agree with Josh that it is baffling how those who profess to follow Christ can turn their hearts against a government plan that makes it so easy for Americans to be generous with their less fortunate fellow human beings. After all the one we Christians profess to want to be like is the very one who instituted a universal plan of salvation and restoration. Of course that costs you nothing, Barbara. So I guess you can be for that.

I agree with you, Barbara, that most Americans are happy with their health insurance plans. I am. I'm retired and on Social Security. And I seem to remember that, between Medicare, Medicaid, Military medicine, and insurance provided to various government workers, far more that 50% of Americans already have a government sponsored health plan. I would not be surprised to find that some living under the same roof as Barbara enjoy such a plan or such a benefit.

So let's open our hearts, fellow believers, and our wallets. After all it is really about the wallet, isn't it Barbara? Let's agree that when we can help another human being in any way we are being most like Christ, who sacrificed the riches of heaven to become poor for us.

There is no need for Obamacare. American health survived durng Raegan or Kennedy days? Middle class Americans were not asked to foot the medical bills of others.
In politics also, a second term for Obama will be disastrous for Americans. Remember how he insulted during Netanyahu's firs visit to the White House. He was asked to sit unceremoniously in the ante room, while Obama and his family were enjoying lunch upstairs. That was immediately after his election. Now he is now acting as a 'soft' president so that Americans will elect him again. If he is elected, he will be highly aggressive and change the traditional American foreign policy into pro-Islamic and create havoc all over the world. Witness- what is happening in Egypt today'
A.Yeshuratnam
India.

There is no need for Obamacare. American health survived durng Raegan or Kennedy days Middle class Americans were not asked to foot the medical bills of others.
In politics also, a second term for Obama will be disastrous for Americans. Remember how he insulted during Netanyahu's first visit to the White House. He was asked to sit unceremoniously in the ante room, while Obama and his family were enjoying lunch upstairs. That was immediately after his election. Now he is acting as a 'soft' president so that Americans will elect him again. If he is elected, he will be highly aggressive and change the traditional American foreign policy into pro-Islamic and create havoc all over the world. Witness- what is happening in Egypt today'
A.Yeshuratnam
India.

Let's not delude ourselves here...we all foot the bill already for the uninsured. We who are insured already pay for the uninsured when they get so ill or hurt they have to use the emergency room. You really think hospitals write that off as charity?? It is a very expensive and inefficient way to provide healthcare but we do it now. That's one reason your premiums keep going up. I, for one, would like people to take more responsibility for themselves in this area...individual mandate anyone?? It was a Republican idea after all. If you don't believe me ask Mitt Romney(R)...it's pretty much his plan for MA that we're following in Obamacare.

I cannot discern any real spiritual arguments for or against health care reform stated in any of these comments. I would venture to say that those against "Obamacare" have to access to affordable health care through a job(gah! maybe even a government job!) nor have any loved ones who have been forced out of insurance due to preexisting conditions. My fifty year old, runs five miles every morning, self employed, hardworking husband cannot find ANY company to insure him due to asthma he has had since childhood I guess all the compassionate, Jobian "Christians" out there think this is just some God-ordained situation and why doesn't he just go die somewhere homeless and broke when or if a life threatening disease comes his way. Believe it or not God gives us brains to solve difficult social problems.

Once again, grand overstatements from those that say "how those who profess to follow Christ can turn their hearts against a government plan that makes it so easy for Americans to be generous with their less fortunate fellow human beings." Stop the circular reasoning. Not one of the oppositions good ideas (like tort reform, the ability to purchase insurance acroos state lines, cutting the waste out of Medicare, etc), was ever considered. This government is trying to force us to buy a product (thus misusing the Commerce Clause) in the name of *humanity? Oh Please. This slippery slope of legislation can lead to the government saying and demanding all kinds fo things in the name of humanity: what kind of food you can buy, what kind products you can drive. Truly, where does it stop. I am also bothered by the fact that this bill does include the ability for health of individuals to be evaluated by committee instead of by one's own doctor.

As a pastor,I will speak up and out about legislation like this that demeans the liberty of many, that helps fewer than it thinks, that bankrupts our society and causes the lack of true individual repsonsility to be take. One out of one, still dies. Tragic fact. Lets care for others deeply, provide for those who cannot be provided for, but as Christ followers, lets get the conversation back to this: we must not just get people to go to Hell, when we have the message of Heaven to live out and give to them.

End this legislative tactic to destroy freedom. In Christ's Name ... end it now.

@ Pastor Ray, WOW! One out of one dies? What kind of argument is that? Scary! I think freedom from oppressive and sometimes greedy insurance companies who cancel sick people is preferable to your brand of freedom to just die on the street.

You cannot be treated for free at any ER,ever, PERIOD. You are sent a bill for your ER visit, your ambulance and or paramedic services and if you don't have insurance you are billed at a much higher, non-negotiated rate. If you don't pay the astromonical bill you will have your credit ruined and your home taken away. What if you have cancer? There is not free care for serious illnesses like this at an ER There are bake sales and bankrupcy. Seriously do your homework, put yourself in the shoes of the uninsured, there are 35 million of them.

Every single ER in the US right now, except for a couple of exceptions, like Shriners I believe, (who give free treatment to children) is full of people who have no money and no insurance. By federal law, they CANNOT be turned away. Congress passed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) in 1986 as part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). It requires hospitals and ambulance services to provide care to anyone needing emergency healthcare treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay. As a result of the act, patients are accepted and treated, and can be discharged ONLY under their own informed consent or when their condition requires transfer to a hospital better equipped to administer the treatment.
Hospitals that receive any Federal money (which is 99.99% of all hospitals because they accept Medicare and Medicaid) MUST treat any patients brought to the ER, regardless of the patient's ability to pay. I also see this plaque at my family physician's office, also saying that nobody will be turned away based on ability to pay.
Is it disappointing to find out that our system is not in such a wreck that we need a complete overhaul that will end up with something much worse? We have the best healthcare system in the world. Yes, it does need some fixing, but no, it does not need complete replacing by the plan they are forcing on us, with their IRS enforcers and jail sentences for those who don't want any part of this plan. Why are people in unions and people who have made huge donations to Obama's election scrambling to NOT be stuck with this obamacare plan?

@ Barbara, Did you receive your 20 operations in the ER free with no bill? Methinks you have insurance. True, hospitals are not allowed to turn away people in emergencies but ER visits are not free nor are they health care This is a myth. You can choose not to pay the bill but it is in the mail and it will blow your socks off. People who are excluded from insurance policies become ill with diseases that cannot be treated in an emergency room. They need access to regular health care just like people with health insurance. Do the two people who commented above want to refrain from receiving health care in any other venue than an ER or are they too important for that. You just think for some reason because some people are are not fortunate to have jobs that provide insurance that they are slackers. Clearly Obama Care is not the best answer but at least the issue of the uninsured trying to be solved. At least the pot is being stirred. I am hearing a lot of people hiding their selfishness with a banner of "freedom" and this is not Christlike thinking at all.

I have said from the beginning that we can fix the problems without having the government taking over everything. If they take over healthcare, they will be controlling over 60% of what was private until this particular president. The govt took over some banks, insurance companies, they made it so all student loans must go through the govt, and they took over GM. There is probably more that I can't think of right now.
I am for fixing the problems, starting with tort reform. Then of course fix it so that the people who fall in the gap between not being poor enough to qualify for medicaid, but not having enough money to buy insurance, are covered. The poor in our country DO have medicaid, their prescriptions and everything else are paid for. I think the insurance companies need a lot of regulation. They need to not drop people when they become sick, and they need to accept everyone who applies and they need to have an affordable plan. We do not need the government to take over everything to fix these problems. Poll after poll has shown that the majority of Americans do not want obamacare, and they are happy with their insurance. I do not think we should pay for illegal aliens either. They should be sent back to their own countries. I have travelled to other countries, and when my kids got sick we did not receive free care, nor did I expect it. My insurance at home reimbursed me for the care. Just because we may differ does not make me less "Christ-like" as a lot of people like to imply. I do want affordable health care for all Americans, and I do not believe the government has to take it over to achieve that goal.

@ Barbara; "Poll after poll shows the majority of Americans do not want Obama-care". I wonder if this is influenced by the fact that the majority of Americans have health insurance paid for through their employment (private corp or gov't paid) These folks have their 20 operations for themselves and their kids paid for by insurance. They have perfect peace of mind and don't want this peace interupted by the noise of those left out of this deal. That is called selfish..sorry to offend. Unless you put on the shoes of the uninsured=no health care, and you, Barbara, are asked to ante up $500,000 for your 20 operation for you or worse yet for your child you seem to not get it. "Go to the ER, you slacker!" you say. Self employed or small businesses have been priced out by insurance companies. Older or previously ill hard working, tax paying citizens cannot obtain insurance at ANY price under the current system. Yes, Obama-care is a disaster, but I would have to say, the folks who put it out there are thinking about the uninsured and have at least listened. Christ left heaven and put on our shoes. Christisns can form different opinions and disagree-agreeably but we are called to emulate Christ.. a shoe borrower, before we formulate callous opinions directed at God's children.

Thought you may find this interesting, and would loke to share...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YV3Hn5TRTTE

Heres the embed...