Support affordable, accessible health care

UM Church and Society is urging us to contact U.S. Senator Pat Toomey’s (R-Pa.) DC office now (202) 224-4254) to advocate for a “health care bill that grants affordable, accessible health care to more people, not fewer.” The Senate released its new bill Thursday, June 15, and may be voting on it in the next week. The board asks us to call Toomey, whose vote is crucial, and to share this graphic (“I’m a United Methodist and …”) from their Facebook page.

Sen. Toomey  has issued the following statement regarding the discussion draft of Senate health care bill that was released this morning:

“Obamacare is failing Pennsylvanians. As taxes, premiums and deductibles continue to skyrocket, choices and access to care have dwindled. The draft bill unveiled in the Senate today strikes me as an important and constructive first step in repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a better, stable, consumer-driven health care system for all Pennsylvanians.

“This measure does not pull the rug out from anyone currently covered by Obamacare, and keeps the Medicaid expansion covering able-bodied, working-age, childless adults, while asking the states to eventually contribute their fair share for this care. Further, this bill works to ensure Medicaid is sustainable for future generations by modestly reducing, seven and a half years from now, the rate at which federal spending on the program will grow.

“I will thoroughly examine this draft and welcome all feedback from my fellow Pennsylvanians in the coming days.”

For more background, see here: www.budget.senate.gov/bettercare

Church and Society staff are doing grassroots organizing around health care in our state, they told Bishop Peggy Johnson this week, following a visit by Susan Burton, Director of Women’s & Children’s Advocacy, to our annual Conference last week. Here is what they wrote to Bishop Johnson:

Dear Peggy,

The debate over the American health care system gets at the heart of who we are as United Methodists and Christians.

Will we care for each other? Or will we ignore the needs of our neighbors? Are we the Good Samaritan? Or are we the religious leaders who crossed the road? This is the choice before us.

One of your senators, Sen. Patrick Toomey, is among a handful of lawmakers who will decide whether a health care bill is passed in the Senate.

The bill was announced this morning, and it’s moving fast. Your action now is critical. We are hearing that they hope to vote on the bill by Tuesday. Call your senator now. As he decides whether to vote for the bill or not, make sure he hears about your health care values. Dial (202) 224-4254. Let the person who answers know your name and where you live. Tell them that Pennsylvania should be providing health care for more people, not fewer.

Sen. Toomey needs to hear directly from his constituents. I can’t do this, you have to.

Here’s a script of what to say:

Hi. My name is ______________, and I’m a constituent from ____________.

I’m concerned about the Senate health care bill. I urge Senator Toomey to oppose any legislation that caps Medicaid or rolls back the Medicaid expansion. As a United Methodist, I believe that God wants us to care for each other. And what we need now is more health care, not less. Please tell the senator to do everything he can to increase access to high-quality, affordable health care and to preserve Medicaid. Thank you.

It really is that simple.

After you’ve called, will you also post on Facebook and Twitter that you’ve called? Here’s a sample Tweet:

Just called @sentoomey and asked him to increase access to high-quality, affordable health care and to save Medicaid. #SaveMedicaid #UMC

And here is a Facebook post you can share.

Peggy, this bill is moving fast and Sen. Toomey needs to hear from you immediately.

Please call.  I’ll be praying for you, for Sen. Toomey, and for the United States as we work to transform the world into one where all people have access to affordable health care. 

Peace, Susan Henery-Crowe

Here is a Health Care Values Sheet that we’ve been sharing with folks, in case it’s helpful.   GBCSHealth Care Values Sheet