For the Healing of the Nation: 46 million reasons for health-care reform
by Jim Wallis
Our history, both as the church and as a country, can be told as a story of confronting and overcoming great challenges. It has never been easy, and the conflict of this summer’s debate over health care and the health of our nation has shown just how difficult it can be.
We have been faced with missing and sometimes misleading information, challenged by both our greatest hopes and fears, and tested in our ability to stand for moral principles in the midst of genuine confusion, legitimate concerns, and aggressive ideologies. Sadly, we have seen even our communities of faith too often overcome by political polarization instead of helping to overcome it. But we know that real change only occurs when hope wins out over fear, when political ideologies are replaced with moral values, and when common ground can be found to achieve the common good.
In his September address to a joint session of Congress, President Barack Obama made the commitments that a broad coalition in the faith community had asked for—reform as a moral issue, affordable coverage for all, and no federal funding of abortion.
First, the faith community had been asking the president to make “the moral case” for health-care reform, not just the policy arguments—and he couldn’t have been more clear about the moral imperative for fixing a broken system. He quoted a letter from Sen. Ted Kennedy, written last spring but delivered to the president after Kennedy’s death, stating that health care “is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.”