As the new federal budget year begins, the government faces a shutdown of non-essential services. Some members of Congress are using the Affordable Care Act as a bargaining chip in this fight over federal spending. The law extends coverage to an estimated 32 million Americans and strengthens existing insurance coverage. It has already provided tremendous benefits, such as the ability for young adults to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26, a ban on insurance plans denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions and the gradual closing of the so-called Medicare “doughnut hole.” The law’s Health Insurance Marketplaces, which will provide affordable and accessible coverage to millions of Americans, open for enrollment today.
Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling that the law is constitutional, and despite the benefits that will come, with nearly all Americans now having health insurance, some Members of Congress are moving ahead with efforts to delay or defund the law in return for keeping the federal government’s lights on. Members of Congress must reject any effort to deprive Americans of the inclusive, affordable, accessible and accountable health care they deserve. Thank President Obama and Members of Congress for defending the Affordable Care Act, which is already helping millions of Americans, and urge Congress to suspend efforts to delay or defund all or part of the law.
Jewish tradition is emphatic about the importance of the community ensuring healthcare for its vulnerable members. As with all Jewish communal welfare efforts, a combination of private and public mechanisms was used to ensure the availability of healthcare in self-governing Jewish communities. And that is the model of the ACA. In some Jewish communities, public health programs and/or regulation of fees and medicine costs were used to ensure coverage. The Reform Movement was a leading voice in the faith community advocating for the passage of this law. We must continue to fulfill our responsibility to lift up the moral voice for health insurance reform by telling our Members of Congress to reject repeal.