The Health Care Access Resolution (House Concurrent Resolution 99) was introduced in April 2001, “directing Congress to enact legislation by October 2004 that provides access to comprehensive health care for all Americans.”
A campaign is now under way to make the Health Care Access Resolution visible to the American people and elected officials in 2002. This is a first step to passing legislation that will ensure access to comprehensive health care for all Americans by the end of the decade. We request your active participation in this campaign.
If not us, who?
Health care for all is a moral imperative, a medical imperative and an economic imperative.
All faith traditions and cultures teach the inter-relatedness of heath and wholeness and call upon us to tend to the healing of others. Further, we are called upon to treat others as we would wish to be treated ourselves. When sick, all of us want to be cared for competently and compassionately. Do we not want the same for our neighbors? Health care for all is a moral imperative.
Scientific studies have shown again and again that those without access to comprehensive care, without stable health insurance, are more prone to major illness, to greater disability and to premature death. Health care for all is a medical imperative.
Per capita expenditures on health care in the United States are by far the highest in the world. But the World Health Organization ranks the U.S. 37th in its evaluation of health outcomes achieved per dollar spent. As the economy slows, the high costs of our fragmented and disorganized health care are straining public budgets and threatening private purses. Health care for all is an economic imperative.
Individuals and organizations working around each of these imperatives – in faith communities, in the provision of health care, in labor and business – play important parts in advocating for good health care for all.
If not now, when?
After the tragedy of Sept. 11, the political attention of the nation has turned to national security and economic recovery. Is there room for health care reform?
In fact, a look at the histories of other nations shows that they often made significant progress towards health care for all during periods of war and economic distress. During such times, when resources are short, people better understand the role of the public sector in assuring vital supplies and services. Now is an excellent time to push for good health care for all.
If not this, what?
Over the decades, many thoughtful plans have been developed to improve America’s health care system. But the obstacles to change in the United States are immense. The checks and balances in American democracy make it much easier to block systemic reform than to advance it.
Without coordinated sustained pressure from many different quarters, politicians lean towards temporary and partial solutions rather than comprehensive reform. When change finally does occur, its details reflect the relative strengths of the interest groups involved in it. But without strong popular and organizational pressure to overcome political inertia, systemic reform proposals rarely even come up for committee votes, let alone make it to the floor of Congress.
The Health Care Access Resolution has been designed to build the political will and the conceptual common ground for comprehensive reform. As a document that articulates principles, it seeks to attain the broadest possible unity among those concerned about the failings of American health care. It promotes the dialogue among potential reform allies that is a necessary prelude to specific policy proposals.
(Editor’s note: As of March 22, 65 members of Congress from 25 states had signed on as co-sponsors. New York representatives who have endorsed the measure to date include Gary L. Ackerman, Maurice Hinchey, Gregory W. Meeks, Jerrold Nadler, Major R. Owens, Nydia Velazquez, Anthony D. Weiner, Charles B. Rangel and Jose E. Serrano.)
Register your support today!
- Obtain organizational endorsements of the Health Care Access Resolution from any national, state or local organizations with which you are affiliated – faith communities, professional associations, labor unions, business groups, community groups, individual businesses and medical practices, etc. Encourage family members and friends to obtain endorsements as well. (Contact 802’s Political Action Department for the endorsement form, or download it from www.uhcan.org/HCAR/endorse_form_online.htm.)
- Contact your Member of Congress as an individual or through your organization and request that he or she cosponsor the Health Care Access Resolution. Express thanks if he or she already has done so.
- Arrange for a speaker for your organization on America’s failing health care system and the principles of reform as outlined in the Health Care Access Resolution.
- Organize public events on health care access issues with other groups in your community. Go to town meetings and urge people to call on Congress to act.
- Write a letter to the editor of your newspaper or call in to a talk show.
- Make a financial contribution to the campaign. Checks may be made payable to UHCAN, designated HCAR, and mailed to UHCAN at 2800 Euclid Avenue, Suite 520, Cleveland, OH 44115.