A Statement from the Reverend Gradye Parsons,
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly:
We rejoice today as the Supreme Court rules to uphold constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. As Reformed Christians, we believe that all people possess inherent worth as children of God, and that God’s promise of abundant life extends to all. Health coverage must be available to all persons living in the United States, regardless of income, race or ethnicity, geography, age, gender, employment status, or health status. Presbyterians have worked both individually and collectively to move our nation toward a more inclusive and just system of health care – with a particular focus on persons whose health conditions or low income have created barriers to receiving needed health care. The Affordable Care Act is moving us in the right direction.
A just system of health care reflects a moral imperative to care for one another. The PC(USA) General Assembly avowed in 1988 that “Society and its constituent public, private, and voluntary organizations have a duty – a moral obligation – to promote a healthful environment and to assure the availability of health-giving resources to all people.” Indeed, our church has a long history of putting access to health care first and foremost among our worldly concerns and ministries of mercy, having established hospitals and clinics in communities even before building churches. In more recent years (2008), we identified a single-payer system as the best vehicle for providing such health care resources, and we continue in the conviction that Congress must enact a national medical plan that will ensure access for all people in this country who seek care.
We commend the Supreme Court upon its decision to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, which will greatly increase the number of people who have access to care, including:
§ Low-income working families up to 133% of the federal poverty level who will have access to health care through the expansions of Medicaid.
§ Persons with cancer and other serious medical conditions who will no longer be denied coverage by insurers; and persons who will no longer be dropped from coverage when they get sick.
§ Middle-income families without employer-sponsored insurance who will have subsidies to help purchase affordable insurance in the new exchanges.
With these legal challenges behind us, we are eager to take part in continued educational efforts to inform our faith communities about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, and to help to connect uninsured persons with the health care they need. We call on Congress to refrain from further introduction of legislation that would derail full implementation, whether by defunding or by eliminating programs that are included in the Affordable Care Act. And we further call on Congress to take the next step toward health care justice, by adopting a single-payer health system for the good of all. We pray that our elected leaders will accept the decision of the Supreme Court and will diligently facilitate the full implementation of this vital, life-giving law.
We thank God that millions more people in the United States will now have access to life-saving and life-enhancing health care.