Dr. Gutmann: “We recognize that the House bill is not perfect, and we will continue our Movement’s decades of work to provide comprehensive and quality health care to all Americans.”
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TORONTO, Nov. 4, 2009 – In a unanimous vote today, the Board of Trustees of the Union for Reform Judaism endorsed the Affordable Health Care for America Act, the health insurance reform bill currently being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives. Dr. Cheryl Gutmann, Chair of the Commission on Social Action, issued the following statement:
We are proud that the Reform Jewish Movement’s long record of activism on behalf of achieving universal health insurance coverage now includes today’s unanimous endorsement of the Affordable Health Care for America Act. This landmark legislation would achieve near-universal coverage, including 96% of Americans. It contains a “public option,” through which the government will compete alongside private insurers to hold down costs, expands Medicaid, includes subsidies to ensure that low-income Americans can afford coverage, and is projected to reduce budget deficits by $104 billion over 10 years.
We recognize the House bill is not perfect and will continue our Movement’s decades of work to provide comprehensive and quality health care to all Americans. Among other shortcomings, the public option should be stronger to reduce costs and set standards of care. This bill is also only one step on the road to health insurance reform. We can no longer accept our nation’s moral and social failings that allow 90 million men, women, and children to go without health insurance, as they did at some point over the last year.
As legislation moves through the Senate and conference committee, we will continue to demand that any bill passed by Congress must expand coverage; protect low income and other vulnerable Americans; provide quality, affordable care; and rest on a financially sustainable foundation.
Maimonides, the Jewish sage and physician, taught that health care was the most important service a community could offer to its residents and that health care was not just an obligation for the doctor and patient, but the community as a whole. These lessons inspire us, and inform our belief that by passing the Affordable Health Care for America Act, we will be significantly closer to the kind of community Maimonides envisioned and that every American deserves.
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.