Health Care

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.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan smiles as he departs a meeting at the U.S. Capitol before a vote to repeal Obamacare May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

After months of internal discord, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, which they have been attacking since it was enacted in 2010. Two attempts in recent weeks to pass an overhaul bill had collapsed in confusion, but Republicans overcame their differences in a 217-213 vote that will send the bill to the Senate, where its outlook was uncertain.

the Web Editors 5-02-2017

Jimmy Kimmel on Monday night offered a heartfelt story about his newborn's birth and health complications.

"If your baby is going to die and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make. I think that's something that if you're a Republican, Democrat, or something else we all agree on that right?" he said in his tearful monologue.

Jim Wallis 3-30-2017

Jim Wallis speaks at U.S. Capitol vigil on March 29. Photo by JP Keenan / Sojourners

We celebrated the failure of a cruel bill. We celebrated our powerful unity across other theological and political differences and our clear opposition to cutting the poor out of the critical budget decisions which now lie ahead. Yes, we celebrated. But we remain vigilant.

the Web Editors 3-24-2017

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) waves to tourists after the House voted on a procedural measure to move ahead with health care legislation to repeal Obamacare at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 24. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

After a week of scrambling, House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump reportedly failed to secure enough votes to pass their long-promised repeal and replacement of the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act. Friday afternoon, the House pulled the bill, reports Politico.

Image via RNS/CCAR

Anti-Semitic incidents have been rising in the U.S. in the past few years, and many Jews and others fault the Trump administration for only belatedly calling out anti-Semitism, and for failing to explicitly denounce those who have heralded his election as a victory for white people.

And Jewish and Muslim groups have banded together in unprecedented ways, in recent months, as mosques and Jewish institutions have been targeted.

Tom Krattenmaker 3-15-2017

Image via RNS/Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi

If you don’t need or want insurance, some ask, why should you have to pay for other people’s coverage?

I know people who think this way, and they resent having the government obligate them to pay into the system.

Understanding that many Americans struggle and pay a high cost under the Affordable Care Act, we cannot really blame some for holding this position. But responsible citizenship compels us to take a broader view.

Image via RNS/Adelle M. Banks

The pro-Trump evangelicals suffer from a spiritual crisis, not a political one.

Moore has challenged the foundations of conservative evangelical political engagement because they desperately needed to be shaken. For 35 years, the old-guard religious right has uncritically coddled, defended, and promoted the Republican Party.

Fran Quigley 3-03-2017

This time of crisis may also be a time of opportunity for people of faith, as the Matthew 25 Pledge and other calls to action are asking. Of course, U.S. faith-based activism played a critical role in the abolition movement, the labor movement, the  civil rights movement, and many other historic efforts to fulfill the gospel message. And Trump’s unlikely ascendance to the presidency is prompting some social movement experts to point back to the faith community for next steps.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

On Jan. 21, I’ll join thousands in D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington. My first stop will be at a local congregation, one of several hosting a prayer service and warming station for marchers. I’m an anti-racist, feminist, Christian, and for me, faith will be part of the day.

I’ve been disappointed with Christian silence, and even active resistance, to social justice imperatives, but my commitments to justice stem from my faith, and that’s why I march.

Image via RNS/Adelle M. Banks

Crying out “no justice, no peace,” crowds joined the Rev. Al Sharpton in a weekend march towards the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, vowing not to let President-elect Donald Trump turn back strides made by the civil rights leader.

The mostly African-American throng — smaller than the thousands expected, due to the steady rain — heard from civic and religious leaders about key areas of concern: health care, voting rights, economic equality, and police brutality and reform.

Wonsuk Ma 12-05-2016
Photo courtesy of Child Health Now

Photo courtesy of Child Health Now

Northmead Assembly of God Church in Lusaka, Zambia, is just like any other megachurch in the world’s megacities. About 1,500 worshippers gather for each of the two Sunday worship services. The music is emotionally uplifting, and Bishop Joshua Banda’s roaring preaching barely keeps members of the audience in their seats. Frequent amens and hallelujahs compete with the preacher’s increasing excitement. In every way, this is a typical Pentecostal church with a good dose of American influence and African traditional religious fervors.

However, this Pentecostal church also operates the Circle of Hope AIDS clinic. More people come here for HIV testing than to most government-run clinics, according to Banda, a sure sign of trust in this shame-oriented culture.

In the early 1990s, Bishop Banda didn’t think AIDS was an issue for his congregation. He was busy with preaching and evangelizing. According to census data, in 1985 the number of people infected with HIV in Zambia was about 36,000. By 1990, that number had jumped to nearly 300,000, and within five years it had doubled again. The AIDS pandemic threatened Zambia’s future.

Soon Banda was hit hard by the realization that AIDS was in his church. He became particularly aware of the suffering of widow lay leaders, and he realized if Zambia lost its future generations, there would be no church or mission at all. He set about to drastically change the direction of Northmead’s ministry.

Banda mobilized his large congregation’s resources to address this threat. Northmead established an intentional “discipleship” track to provide ministry and training for HIV/AIDS patients, their families, and the whole church. Northmead’s approach was holistic, covering spiritual, social, communal, educational, and medical assistance.

Image via REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/RNS

Somewhere in California on June 9, a terminally ill person may lift a glass and drink a lethal slurry of pulverized prescription pills dissolved in water.

And then die.

That’s the day the nation’s most populous state implements a law, passed in 2015, making physician-assisted dying accessible to 1 in 6 terminally ill Americans, according to its national backers, Compassion & Choices.

Pope Francis has blasted employers who do not provide health care as bloodsucking leeches and he also took aim at the popular “theology of prosperity” in a pointed sermon on the dangers of wealth.

Lisa Davison 10-26-2015

Image via  / Shutterstock

Recognizing the incredible gap (between those with health insurance and those without it) in the health care system in their area, nurse practitioners Mary Wysochansky and Anna Stinchcum decided to do something to address the problem. These two women founded and opened the Sumter Faith Clinic in Americus, Ga. The clinic serves the uninsured and the underinsured in Sumter County, Ga. Funded purely by donations and staffed by volunteers, Sumter Faith Clinic provides healthcare for those in need that tends to the body, soul, and mind. Their desire to make justice happen was possible because these two women decided to join their efforts and work for a better future.

In 2014, the U.N. Women launched a campaign to revisit and reengage with the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on gender equality. The slogan of the campaign is “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity, Picture It!” The platform identified 12 areas for attention in working for the rights of women and girls: Poverty, Education, Health, Violence, Armed Conflicts, Economy, Power/Decision-Making, Institutional Mechanisms for Advancement, Human Rights, Media, the Environment, and the “Girl-child.” At the original 1995 Beijing conference, 189 countries committed to this platform for achieving gender equality and female empowerment. Beijing +20 (twenty years after the Beijing Declaration) reminds us that, while advancements in gender equality and the empowerment of women have been made, there is still much work to do.

Michael Mershon 8-07-2015
Justice

Katherine Welles / Shutterstock 

THIS SUMMER’S ATTEMPT to dismantle the Affordable Care Act began as the very height of frivolous lawsuits. Cooked up with the help of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank, the case (King v. Burwell) depended upon a very narrow reading of four words in Section 36B of the ACA: “established by the State.”

Essentially, Obamacare foes argued that Congress intended to provide health-care subsidies (or tax credits) only to those Americans living in states with state-operated insurance exchanges. Those who lived in states without exchanges—including Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, and others—and were, therefore, dependent upon the federal exchange would be ineligible for subsidies.

Of course, Congress intended no such thing—as the Supreme Court upheld. Throughout dozens of hearings and hundreds of hours of debate, it was clear that ACA subsidies would be available to every American, regardless of what state they lived in.

In a 6-3 ruling, the court rejected King, with Chief Justice Roberts explaining, “A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan. Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.”

Had the suit carried the day, 6.4 million Americans would have lost their subsidies. 

Fran Quigley 6-08-2015

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

5-08-2015
We can again be a leader for our nation and at the same time join the rest of the countries of our developed world in providing health care for all.
sheff / Shutterstock.com

sheff / Shutterstock.com

Human slavery has been in existence for thousands of years and unfortunately still flourishes today. An estimated 36 million slaves exist — perhaps more than any time in history —in countries around the world, even the U.S.

“You shall not pervert the justice due to the sojourner or to the fatherless, or take a widow’s garment in pledge.” —Deuteronomy 24:17

This verse names the three populations most vulnerable to exploitation: those living in a foreign country, children without parents, and women without protection. These populations have always been the most vulnerable to human trafficking, and they remain so today.

Hope for Justice aims to end human trafficking in our lifetime. And one priority to achieve that in the U.S. is training healthcare professionals to recognize victims of human trafficking. Almost 88 percent of victims of domestic sex trafficking encounter healthcare professionals while they are being trafficked.

David E. Wilson, Michael J. O'Dea, and Louis Brown Jr. introduce Christ Medicus Foundation CURO. Photo via Sally Morrow/RNS.

If you are a Christian who doesn’t smoke, abstains from sex outside your heterosexual marriage and can get your priest to vouch that you go to church at least three times a month, you may qualify for a new Catholic alternative to health insurance.

Taking a cue from evangelicals, a group of traditionalist Catholics on Oct. 2 unveiled a cost-sharing network that they say honors their values and ensures that they are not even indirectly supporting health care services such as abortion that contradict their beliefs.

Christ Medicus Foundation CURO, as the group is called, will be financially integrated with Samaritan Ministries International, which was launched in 1991 by an evangelical home-schooling dad. The SMI network now serves 125,000 people and is exempt from the Affordable Care Act.

“Think about the Gospels and how the Apostles lived,” said CMF CURO director Louis A. Brown Jr. at the program’s Washington, D.C., debut. “They very much shared and cared for each other. And we’re saying: ‘Catholics, you can do that too.’”

Pages

Subscribe