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Women call for affordable health care for all

United Methodist Women rally in support of health care for all during a noontime vigil Oct. 10 outside the annual meeting of the Women’s Division in Stamford, Conn.
A UMNS photo by Cassandra M. Zampini, Women's Division.

By Yvette Moore*
Oct. 13, 2009 | STAMFORD, Conn. (UMNS)

Passing cars honked approval as more than 50 United Methodist Women rallied in support of health care for all that is “affordable, accessible and accountable” at a noontime vigil outside the Marriott Hotel.

The vigil was one of several actions related to health care that directors took during the Oct. 9-12 annual meeting of the Women’s Division, United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. The division is the national policymaking arm of the 800,000-member United Methodist Women organization.

For nearly an hour Oct. 10, vigil participants faced brisk autumn winds while chanting “Affordable, Accessible, Quality Health Care!” and improvising songs of the church to support passage of federal legislation ensuring health care “for all God’s children” within the United States.

Division directors later voted to reaffirm principles of The United Methodist Church and United Methodist Women declaring health care a human right and promoting the right to quality health care for all within the U.S. borders, “regardless of age, income, gender or status; including coverage for reproductive health care.”

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While the action affirmed a Medicare-for-all-type plan—often called “single payer”—as the most effective means of delivering health care to all, it also affirmed interim, less-comprehensive, federal and state plans that nonetheless moved public policy in a total-coverage direction.

The Women’s Division action cites the denomination’s Social Principles, Paragraph 162V, and “Health Care for All in the United States” from The United Methodist Church Book of Resolution, 2008, Paragraph 3201, which states, among other things, “We cannot wait to overcome current barriers to a single payer plan, and therefore support all initiatives that move segments of our population closer to a single payer system.”

The directors urged United Methodist Women members to bring their values and concerns to the national dialogue on health care reform.

“We call on United Methodist Women members across the country to join the national dialogue and engage in all forms of advocacy for equitable, inclusive health care reform as a sign of our Christian witness to the value of all God’s children and for their health and well-being,” said Maggie Jackson, Women’s Division vice-president and chairwoman of its Christian Social Action section.  

“The prospect of health care reform affects all of us, and as people of faith, we must take action to ensure that God’s vision of abundant life is fulfilled for every one of God’s children so that we care for our health and that of our neighbors,” she added.

“In accepting this just vision of health care, we as United Methodist Women will add our voices to the call for a justice-filled system of health care that is inclusive, affordable, accessible and accountable.”

*Moore is a contributing editor with the Women’s Division.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org

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