From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[PCUSANEWS] GA urges coverage for the uninsured

Date 22 Jun 2002 09:02:38 -0400

Note #7326 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:

GA urges coverage for the uninsured
June 21, 2002

GA urges coverage for the uninsured

by Evan Silverstein

COLUMBUS, OH - General Assembly commissioners, working late into the night on June 21, approved three items related to health and social issues that had been arrested earlier in the day.
The items, which included a resolution calling the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s attention to healthcare concerns of the uninsured, were referred to the 214th General Assembly by its Committee on Health and Social Issues. 

The resolution on advocacy on behalf of the uninsured, approved as amended, asked the Assembly to reaffirm past policy statements and resolutions on healthcare issues, such as Life Abundant: Values, Choices and Health Care: The Responsibility and Role of the Presbyterian Church (USA), handed down by the 200th General Assembly in 1988. 

The measure, addressed to the church and the U.S. government, reaffirms the church's commitment to advocacy on behalf of low-income and fixed-income immigrants without health insurance. It urges the Assembly to reaffirm the church's call for a national medical plan and encourages the church to support the efforts of organizations such as clinics and pharmacies that serve the uninsured. 

The paper also urges presbyteries, sessions and congregations to be mindful of the PC(USA)'s health-policy statements and to establish benefit program to cover all employees, including part-time workers.

The resolution urges the Board of Pensions (BOP) to make available health coverage to all church employees (including part-timers) so that the church can serve as a model of universal healthcare coverage. 

The resolution came in response to a 1999 General Assembly referral directing the Advisory Committee on Social Welfare Policy (ACSWP) to develop a resolution on the healthcare needs of the uninsured.

The General Assembly also:

* Approved, as amended, a recommendation asking the General Assembly to call upon the federal Department of Health and Human Services to promote the adoption of all Cultural and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Healthcare Standards (CLAS), promulgated by the Office of Minority Health/Public Health Service of the federal Department of Health and Human Services for all providers of healthcare services that receive, federal funds.

The standards are meant to ensure that everyone who enters the healthcare system receive equitable and effective treatment in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.

It also urges the General Assembly to support the adoption of these standards by all health-service providers and facilities, as well as entities that accredit such providers and facilities. It also urges local churches and presbyteries to work with healthcare providers in their areas to help implement the standards.

The proposal was originally developed by the denomination's Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns.

*Approved a recommendation directing the General Assembly Council and the Office of Theology and Worship to implement a six-year churchwide dialogue on end-of-life issues. The General Assembly Council had asked the Health and Social Issues committee to defer implementation "until sufficient new funding is provided." 

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