From the Worldwide Faith News archives

United Methodists join in 'Cover the Uninsured Week'

From "NewsDesk" <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Thu, 15 Apr 2004 12:42:23 -0500

April 15, 2004	News media contact: Linda Bloom7(646) 369-37597New York7
E-mail: 7 ALL-RM{175}

By United Methodist News Service

To draw attention to the nearly 44 million Americans who lack health
insurance, United Methodists and members of other religious groups will join
with more than 800 national and local organizations in marking "Cover the
Uninsured Week."

Some 1,000 events are planned in communities across the United States during
the May 10-16 observation. Former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter are
honorary co-chairmen of the nonpartisan effort.

United Methodist Bishop Melvin Talbert is a member of the National Interfaith
Advisory Board for Cover the Uninsured Week. The Rev. Eileen Lindner, an
executive with the National Council of Churches, is the board's chairwoman.
The United Methodist Council of Bishops is one of the national religious

Talbert told United Methodist News Service that last year's Cover the
Uninsured Week, the first of its kind, made people more aware of the issue -
and especially of the fact that 80 percent of the uninsured work at full-time
jobs. "People are now much more sensitive to what's going on," he noted.

When the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation decided to fund the program again for
2004, Talbert said he was happy to continue on the advisory board "because I
think it is a very significant issue that we need to come to grips with in
our society." He also believes the problem of the uninsured is a "clear
example" of why a national health plan is needed.

In "A Call to Care for People Without Health Insurance," members of the
interfaith advisory board noted their "long tradition of caring for people
who suffer in mind, body and spirit."

That commitment includes seeking compassionate public health care policies.
"Because all of our faith traditions, despite encompassing a wide spectrum of
beliefs, hold central a conviction that life is a gift from God to be
cherished and that God's people are called to care for one another, provide
healing and prevent suffering with compassion and a commitment to justice,
today we proclaim the call to care for our nation's nearly 44 million
uninsured people," the board stated.

Suggestions for answering the call include reflecting on texts and teachings
of faith to gain an understanding of the needs of the uninsured; learning
more about the plight of the uninsured and potential solutions through study,
discussion and participation in the week's events; reaching out to help
people without health coverage and focusing attention on the issue to promote
dialogue among all Americans.

Study guides, action kits with prayers, bulletin inserts and activity
suggestions, and other resources have been prepared for congregations.
Information about resources and events is available at
www.CoverTheUninsuredWeek.Org online.


United Methodist News Service
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