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Senate Health Care Vote Signifies Progress, but Bill Lacks Key Elements

Pelavin: “This bill constitutes a significant step toward establishing health care coverage as a right and not a privilege in our country.”

Contact: Kate Bigam
202.387.2800 |

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 21, 2009 – In response to the Senate’s early morning procedural vote on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

We are pleased to see the Senate’s vote to move forward with crucial health insurance reform legislation that would expand coverage to an additional 30 million Americans. This bill constitutes a significant step toward establishing health care coverage as a right and not a privilege in our country.

We understand that compromises must be made to ensure the expeditious passage of health reform legislation; however, we remain disappointed with several weaknesses in the bill. The lack of a public insurance option, which is a key component of the House-passed reform bill, undermines affordability. A government-run option would compete alongside private insurance plans, control costs, and act as a potent force in the expansion of coverage to all Americans. Equally problematic, both the House and Senate versions of reform legislation now include troubling restrictions on women’s access to reproductive health care.

We believe that political expediency is not enough of a reason to undermine reproductive rights enshrined in Roe v. Wade or omit the necessary public insurance option. While reform is necessary and urgent, we urge Congress not to lose sight of those elements of reform which make it both comprehensive and affordable.


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. Visit for more.

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