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Standing up, Once Again, For Affordable Health Care

Standing up, Once Again, For Affordable Health Care

baby getting a vaccine

We have seen this before.

You might read this and think you are looking at an old blog post, but, believe it or not, the House of Representatives passed legislation on Friday that would repeal provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and defund Planned Parenthood. Again.

These votes have become routine. The House has voted to defund portions of the Affordable Care Act over 55 times since the law was enacted, and the House voted to defund Planned Parenthood as recently as two weeks ago. This time, the House will vote to defund the ACA using a procedural mechanism called “budget reconciliation”, which would allow the bill to pass through the Senate with only 51 votes instead of the customary 60 vote supermajority.

The President would veto any bill that defunds the Affordable Care Act, so chances of this bill becoming law are slim. This repeal attempt, and the many that have come before it, though, remind us that there is a great need for the faith community to stand up to protect these important health care programs.

Many of the Reform movement’s 900 congregations advocated strongly for the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and we are now starting to see this advocacy pay off. Researchers have found that nearly 17 million people have received health insurance since the law took effect. More people than ever are now covered if they get sick, and no one can be denied health insurance for having a preexisting condition.

While we recognize that the ACA is not perfect, repealing the law and making health insurance less accessible is not acceptable. We continue to support efforts to strengthen America’s health care system as in line with our Jewish tradition. Maimonides, in his work the Mishneh Torah, lists health care as one of the most important services a city must provide its residents. The Religious Action Center continues to advocate for policies that expand health care services to all.

Part of this mission includes speaking out against attempts to defund Planned Parenthood. Defunding Planned Parenthood would create a serious barrier to health care access for the 2.7 million Americans who rely on PPFA clinics for affordable care. All life is sacred in Judaism; as our tradition commands women to care for their own health and well-being above all else, we must fight to ensure that all women and their families have safe, legal and affordable access to reproductive and preventive health care services.

Now as much as ever, urge Congress to oppose efforts to curtail reproductive rights. Also visit our healthcare policy page to learn more about the Jewish value to provide health care to a community, and our efforts supporting universal high quality health care. 

Tyler Dratch is a 2015-2016 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. He is from Newtown, PA, where he grew up at Congregation of Ohev Shalom of Bucks County. Tyler attended Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Tyler Dratch

Published: 10/26/2015