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To: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
A Moral Call To Defend Healthcare
We write both as people of faith and people of conscience who know we face a moral crisis in America.
Weeks ago, members of the House rushed to pass the American Healthcare Act (AHCH) before it was even scored by the Congressional Budget Office. We now know that, if this version of TrumpCare were to pass the Senate, 23 million people would lose access to healthcare, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths each year.
If we were to add these vulnerable people to the 27 million who are still not covered under the Affordable Care Act, 50 million Americans—85% of whom work at least part time—would be without access to healthcare in the richest nation in the history of the world.
This is not simply unnecessary and imprudent. It is immoral.
Why is this important?
All of our faith traditions teach that healthcare is a moral issue. To care for another human being is to care for God in the Jewish tradition because God’s image is stamped on each human person. Christians know that Jesus healed the sick in his earthly ministry and taught his followers that they care for him when they care for the sick. Because of the Prophet Mohammed’s commitment to healthcare, the world’s first public hospitals were started in Muslim countries. When President Trump recently toured the cradles of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, he visited nations that guarantee universal healthcare to all of their citizens.
People of conscience who do not belong to a particular faith tradition recognize that, among the developed nations of the modern world, the United States is the exception because we do not guarantee healthcare to all of our citizens. We face a moral crisis not only because healthcare is a moral issue, but also because the injustice of some people receiving the very best care while their neighbors die without access to healthcare is immoral.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhuman." Persistent inequities in income, education, civil rights and access to the ballot are moral issues because they impact the quality of life for people in this nation. But Dr. King saw what many who risk losing coverage today know all to well: without access to healthcare, life itself is at risk for many Americans.
Access to healthcare, literally a matter of life and death, is currently before the Senate which you lead. We write as fellow Americans to demand immediate action to save the Affordable Care Act and to expand access to healthcare in the United States of America. And we pledge moral resistance to any policy that would deny access to us and our fellow Americans.
Forward together, not one step back!
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II
Repairers of the Breach, Moral Revival Movement
School for Conversion