ACA

Jim Wallis 9-25-2017

Image via REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque.

The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson ACA repeal bill is the most radical and most disruptive plan to reorder one-sixth of the U.S. economy, in no small part due to the rush to pass something, anything that would fulfill the 7-year Republican promise to “repeal and replace Obamacare” ahead of a critical Sept. 30 deadline this Saturday. On Oct. 1 a new fiscal year starts for the U.S. government, forcing the GOP to start over with the complex budget maneuvering that allows them to pass a bill with only 50 votes in the Senate rather than the 60 that are generally required.

Interfaith clergy carry a cardboard coffin while leading a procession to protest attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act during a rally on Capitol Hill, on July 25, 2017. RNS photo by Madeleine Buckley

For the third week in a row, clergy showed up on Capitol Hill to protest Senate action on health care.

As in past weeks, some were arrested. But on this Tuesday, the group ratcheted up the drama by marching to the Capitol, carrying a cardboard coffin and poster-sized death certificates for those who would lose health insurance.

James Misak 7-25-2017

I AM A FAMILY PHYSICIAN in Cleveland. For more than two decades, I have cared for lower-income families whose health struggles were made worse by their inability to afford private health insurance or to qualify for publicly funded health insurance through Medicaid or Medicare. Very few of their employers offer health insurance. This results in unaffordable medications and treatments, poor control of chronic illnesses, and avoidable complications from these illnesses.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 represented a sea change in the lives of my patients. They benefitted from two major health-insurance expansions: individual health-insurance exchanges, with subsidies to help middle-income families buy private insurance, and an expansion of Medicaid.

FILE PHOTO: President Donald Trump gathers with Republicans in the Rose Garden after the House approved repealing major parts of Obamacare. May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
 

President Donald Trump pleaded with Senate Republicans on Monday to "do the right thing" on health care and allow debate to begin on a measure to repeal and replace Obamacare. The Senate is expected to vote on Tuesday on whether to begin debating a health care overhaul, although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not specified which version of the bill the senators will vote on.

Image via Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein

In the United States, the latest setback delivered a major political blow to Trump, who has failed to win any major legislative initiative in the first six months of his presidency.

the Web Editors 6-26-2017

Editor's Note: On June 21, the day before Senate Republicans released the text of their health care plan, Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) spoke at The Summit, Sojourners' annual gathering of faith and justice leaders, about the Christian call to recognize the inherent human dignity in those who would be most affected by drastic health care cuts. At the link is the full text of his remarks, as prepared for delivery.

 

the Web Editors 6-19-2017

In a series of floor motions, inquiries and lengthy speeches, Democrats criticized the closed-door meetings that Republicans have been holding to craft a replacement for Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act. They called for open committee hearings and more time to consider the bill before a Senate vote, which Republicans say could come in the next two weeks, although a draft bill has yet to emerge publicly.

Jim Wallis 5-05-2017

President Donald Trump gathers with congressional Republicans in the Rose Garden after the House passed the AHCA. May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

President Donald Trump had a party yesterday in the White House Rose Garden — while cases of beer were wheeled into the Capitol Building — to celebrate the just-passed Republican health care bill through the House of Representatives. If this bill passes the Senate and is signed by President Trump, the core elements of the bill will create conditions in which 24 million fewer people will have health insurance by 2026 than under the Affordable Care Act, which is, for the time being, still the law of the land.

Jim Wallis 3-17-2017

Overall, states would be forced to absorb $880 billion in Medicaid cuts to prevent the reduction or elimination of Medicaid services, something states are in no position to do according to governors from both parties. The bill would cut almost $900 billion from Medicaid over ten years, mostly to pay for changes that would benefit high-income people and corporations.   

And in a morally shocking move, it is not just the poor, but the older and sicker poor people who will fare the worst under the new law.

Andrew Simpson 3-17-2017

 

Betsy Shirley 3-15-2017

Almost immediately after House Republicans unveiled the health care plan they hope will replace the Affordable Care Act, a number of Bible-quoting, justice-loving Christians began pointing out that the GOP's proposed replacement doesn't quite live up to Jesus's command to "heal the sick."

the Web Editors 3-09-2017

During Wednesday night's heated debate over the GOP's proposed replacement to the Affordable Care Act — which ultimately passed the House Ways and Means Committee early Thursday morning — Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) quoted Matthew 25 to rebuke Speaker Paul Ryan's description of the measure as "an act of mercy." 

the Web Editors 1-12-2017

Image via Stephen Melkisethian/Flickr

The U.S. Senate voted 51 to 48 in the early hours of Jan. 12 to begin the process of repealing major portions of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The vote went on for seven hours, as Senate Democrats attempted to build on growing unease among House and Senate Republicans over repealing major provisions of the ACA without a repeal in place. Ultimately, only Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) joined the Democrats in voting against, and the resolution was approved.

Last night’s hours-long late night vote is known as a “vote-a-rama,” a long series of back-to-back votes in the Senate. Though atypical, it’s become a more common practice for major votes in the Senate.

Lisa Sharon Harper 1-06-2017

I sat on the first wooden pew of the Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, D.C., on New Year’s Eve, with 500 faithful from across the country and thousands who watched online, to worship, testify, and encourage each other.

We came together in the tradition of the 1862 “watch night” service, when enslaved and free African-Americans, abolitionists, and others awaited news that the Emancipation Proclamation would become law and would free black people living in the South. We came together also in the tradition of Jesus, who told his disciples to “keep awake” while he prayed on the night before his crucifixion.

Fran Quigley 6-08-2015

Forget cigars—some low-income communities in the U.S. are importing Cuba's health-care strategy. 

Despite continued opposition, the ACA is accomplishing its goals. 

8-06-2014
As Jim Wallis, a New York Times bestselling author, public theologian, speaker, and acclaimed commentator on ethics and public life, has frequently noted: “Budgets are moral documents.” The moral aspects of Virginia’s budget have been addressed by the various faith communities in the Commonwealth and have been persuasively articulated by the Catholic bishops of Virginia in their statement (April 11, 2014) on expanding Medicaid: “Our advocacy is informed by...teaching that, first, everyone has the right to life, and second, healthcare is a right – not a privilege – that flows from the right to life itself… Virginia should start accepting federal money that can provide nearly 400,000 of its poorest residents the health insurance they currently lack and desperately need.”
Supreme Court Building, Orhan Cam / Shutterstock.com

Supreme Court Building, Orhan Cam / Shutterstock.com

The Supreme Court on Monday sided with the evangelical owners of Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., ruling 5-4 that the arts-and-crafts chain does not have to offer insurance for types of birth control that conflict with company owners’ religious beliefs.

Beyond the specifics of the Hobby Lobby case before them, the justices broke new legal ground by affirming that corporations, not just individual Americans or religious non-profits, may claim religious rights.

Does Monday’s decision mean, however, that the religious beliefs of business owners stand paramount? That they are more important than a female employee’s right to choose from the full array of birth control methods she is promised under the Affordable Care Act? Or that a business owner may invoke his religious rights to deny service to a gay couple?

Not necessarily, legal experts say.

 
Beau Underwood 10-08-2013
Debt crisis illustration, mikeledray / Shutterstock.com

Debt crisis illustration, mikeledray / Shutterstock.com

The world as we know it may end on Oct. 17.

This statement seems hyperbolic. It sounds like another absurd prediction of the end times that garners far too much attention from the media. But this isn’t about the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Unless the Congress raises the debt ceiling, Oct.17 is the date that the United States government runs out of money to pay its bills.

The consequences could be catastrophic.

Defaulting on our financial obligations would shatter the global confidence in the U.S. dollar that has made it the worldwide reserve currency. U.S. Treasury bonds would no longer be perceived as safe investments, which means creditors would demand higher interest rates to purchase the bonds because of the increased investment risk. The rise in interest rates would make U.S. debt more expensive to finance, leading to more government spending and slower economic growth. The U.S. Treasury believes a default could cause another recession far worse than what we experienced in 2008.

Of course, this pending crisis is completely manufactured and entirely avoidable.

Yolanda Smith 10-07-2013
Medicine illustration, violetkaipa / Shutterstock.com

Medicine illustration, violetkaipa / Shutterstock.com

As people of faith, we sometimes don’t take time to prepare ourselves for what is ahead. With so many things vying for our time and attention, it is difficult to educate ourselves about all facets of critical matters. Even in our relationship with God, we gloss over important details that will guide us into a closer walk and become content with a distant half-hearted relationship. However, a casual walk with God is not one we should settle for. By delving into God’s Word, we are able to draw upon God’s wisdom for guidance and find a deeper relationship with God as we travel through this journey of life.

In a similar fashion, we cannot settle for casual knowledge of the Affordable Care Act, which is now upon us and “gives Americans unprecedented information about the health plan choices in their own communities.” The Kaiser Family Foundation reports in a recent poll that 51 percent of all Americans are still unsure about how the ACA will affect them. 42 percent of Americans thought that Congress had overturned the act or that the Supreme Court had ruled it unconstitutional. And, many Americans worry that they will have to shell out more money due to the new health reform law. This uneasiness and misinformation certainly warrants a closer look as we journey through the multiple avenues of the Affordable Care Act.

 

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