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Friday, July 04, 2008

Presbyterians and Universal Health Care

The Presbyterian General Assembly made some important decisions regarding healthcare. By a vote of 377 to 250 the General Assembly approved that the entities of the PC(USA) "advocate for, educate about, and otherwise pursue the goal of obtaining legislation that enacts single-payer, universal national health insurance as the program that best responds to the moral imperative of the gospel."

Final Text:

That the 218th General Assembly (2008)

1. [Advocate for, educate about, and work toward] [Endorse in principle the provision of] single-payer universal health care reform [in which health care services are privately provided and publicly financed.] [through national health insurance that is privately provided (improved Medicare for all in principle) and publicly financed.]

2. Direct the General Assembly Council[, through appropriate offices including the National Health Ministries, the Washington Office, and the Presbyterian Health, Education, and Welfare Association (PHEWA),] to [actively] [advocate for, educate about, and otherwise] pursue the goal of obtaining legislation that enacts single-payer, universal national health insurance as the program that best responds to the moral imperative of the gospel; [and that the General Assembly Council monitor] [monitoring] progress toward this goal [without regard to political party] and [report] [reporting] back to the [church on an annual basis] [next two General Assemblies (2010 and 2012)].

3. Direct the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly to send a copy of this resolution to the appropriate committee chairs of the U.S. Congress and to the Washington and United Nations offices of the PC(USA).

4. Direct that $25,000 from the Mission budget of the PC(USA) be sent to the PACT Network of PHEWA for the purpose of holding ten regional, one-day seminars supporting single payer universal healthcare reform, moneys to be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

The General Assembly also adopted the paper, "Comfort My People: A Policy Statement on Serious Mental Illness” with a wide range of recommendations for advocacy, support, education and hospitality for those suffering from serious mental illness and their families.

The General Assembly voted to pursue a study on HIV/AIDS:


Final Text:
That the 218th General Assembly (2008), recognizing that the HIV and AIDS pandemic is a critical matter of our faith and God’s justice, overtures the 218th General Assembly (2008) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to address the HIV and AIDS pandemic by directing the [General Assembly Council (GAC), in consultation with] Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP), [appropriate PC(USA)] [in consultation with appropriate General Assembly Council] staff, [PC(USA)] networks, and church partners, to develop and fully fund a comprehensive [study on] HIV and AIDS [policy] for the PC(USA), recommending compassionate action and giving prophetic witness regarding issues related to people living with HIV and AIDS in the U.S.A. and around the world, and report [that policy] to the 219th General Assembly (2010).
Read more about how the General Assembly responded to health issues at the Presbyterian News Service.


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