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Illinois Conference of Churches

Public Policy Declaration on Universal Health Care

May 1999

[An ICC Public Policy Declaration is an official statement addressing a specific public policy issue adopted by the General Board and ratified by the Council of Judicatory Executives without objection.]

        Biblical tradition teaches that human beings are created in the image of God. This implies basic human rights which are a reflection of essential human dignity. The Illinois Conference of Churches declares that health care is one of these basic rights. As God’s people, we have a moral obligation to secure this right for all people as a way to show love for God and neighbor and to embody the healing ministry of Jesus. Health care should not be a commodity bought and sold in the market place where the needs of the privileged are fully met while the needs of the poor are often ignored.

        In 1997, 43.2 million Americans were uninsured, up from 41.7 million in 1996. An additional 31 million Americans who have health insurance are underinsured, meaning they would have to spend more that 10% of their income on health care costs if faced with a serious illness.

        We believe that society has a moral obligation to guarantee health care security for people of all ages and conditions who reside in the U.S. Therefore the Illinois Conference of Churches appeals to the Christian community to work to educate and advocate for universal health care legislation in Illinois and the United States which will guarantee its residents:

  • universal coverage for everyone living in the United States without regard to race, income, gender, geography, age, disability, health status, sexual orientation, religion, country of origin or residency status;

  • universal access to comprehensive health care in rural, urban, and suburban areas of the United States;

  • portability of coverage for all persons regardless of changes in employment, place of residency or marital status;

  • equitable financing shared by government, employers and individuals according to the ability to pay;

  • cost containment and control to reduce inflation in the costs of providing medical services, and to halt the decline in medical research;

  • quality care to provide coverage for the treatment of all physical and mental illnesses and disabilities, preventive health care programs, and extended care for the chronically ill or dying.

 
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