First – Happy New Year 2017. We hope the coming year will be a good one for all of you, your congregations, families, and friends. Nationally we know there will be major challenges, but the strength of our personal lives can give us the endurance to weather all the storms that seem to loom ahead.
We take seriously Matthew 10 with Jesus’ directions to his apostles that they should go into communities and first heal the sick before they did any other thing. That has informed our long-time work on health care. It is on us as people of faith to uphold that responsibility to our fellow human beings.
Our first major challenge to our beliefs and to our work begins immediately. Congress reconvenes this week with defunding or killing the Affordable Care Act as a major priority for the House and Senate leadership.
Our allies in health care, the United Methodist Board of Church and Society and Families USA have told us that some of these votes may come this week.
Yes – this week.
We just learned that the House has stopped their effort to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics due to the overwhelming number of calls from constituents opposing this move.
Your voice clearly does matter!
The House has also declared that their first order of business is to repeal the Affordable Care Act with no plans to replace it. The Senate is poised to do much the same. As an alternative, the House can defund it with a filibuster-proof budget reconciliation vote meaning they can leave the mandate in place with zero subsidies for the working families.
Please call your representatives and senators no matter which party and express your strong opposition to either repeal or defunding. And make a commitment that this will be the first of many such calls.
Please go to our link here to get access to your elected officials with phone numbers and other contact information. If you prefer to write, please FAX a letter so it will not get caught in the Capitol mailroom waiting to be screened for anthrax. Yes – we live in a strange time.
If you prefer, you may contact the Congressional Switchboard and be transferred to your Representative or Senator. It is not a toll-free call. That number is (202) 224-3121. As toll-free numbers arise, we will send them on for you to use, but there is none at the moment.
We will be in touch as issues arise. California stands to lose $20 billion in federal health funding leaving working families, homeless adults, and people on disability without adequate health care coverage. It is critical that we keep the pressure on to stand for justice in health care.
Please act starting today to raise your voice against any alteration of the Affordable Care Act. Your witness and advocacy for those in need of health care is urgent and cannot wait. Please make this happen today!