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Senate Finance Vote a Healthy Step Closer to Insurance Reform

Pelavin: “Today’s vote is a milestone in the journey toward giving American citizens the health care coverage they deserve, but it is by no means the end of the line.”

Contact: Kate Bigam or Rebecca Katz
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 13, 2009 – In response to the Senate Finance Committee’s passage of America’s Healthy Future Act, Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center, issued the following statement:

The Reform Jewish Movement applauds today’s watershed vote by the Senate Finance Committee, bringing a long-overdue health care reform bill to the Senate floor.

Jewish tradition teaches that human life is of infinite value and that the preservation of life supersedes all other consideration. Providing health care is not just an obligation for the patient and the doctor, but for society as well. It is for this reason that Maimonides, a revered Jewish scholar, listed health care first on his list of the ten most important communal services that a city had to offer to its residents (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot De’ot IV: 23).

With conscious effort to keep down cost, America’s Healthy Future Act requires most Americans to purchase insurance coverage, offers a purchasing exchange that facilitates competition, but fails to implement a government-run insurance plan to compete with the private market. Today’s vote is a milestone in the journey toward giving American citizens the health care coverage they deserve, but it is by no means the end of the line.

In moving forward, we will work to see the expansion of quality, affordable care include comprehensive protection of low-income and vulnerable populations, and rest on a financially sustainable foundation. We also hope to see a public option and sufficient subsidies to assist middle income people purchase health insurance.

Ancient Jewish text states “whosoever sustains and saves a single soul, it is as if that person sustained a whole world” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5). We look forward to a future in which all Americans have access to the high-quality health care they need and deserve.


The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis.

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