Jun 29 2012
The Truth As Best I Know It: The UMC Speaks on Health Care
I have to admit I was quite surprised yesterday when I saw that the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (what some call "Obamacare") in its entirety. During my lifetime, many of the landmark decisions handed down by our nation's highest court have appeared extremely partisan, with justices voting the position of the political party of the President who appointed them.
I don't really want to engage in the wars of words that are currently going on surrounding the decision. I'm not a legal scholar nor an expert in health policy, so were I to engage in the arguments for the side I find myself on, the best I could do would be to give slightly more thoughtful versions of the sound-bytes being thrown around, but I wouldn't have much of substance to contribute to the discussion.
Instead, I'd simply like to share the official stance of my church on the right to health care. This comes from paragraph 162 of the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, where the social principles of our denomination are detailed.
Health is a condition of physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being, and we view it as a responsibility—public and private. Health care is a basic human right. Psalm 146 speaks of the God “who executes justice for the oppressed;/ who gives food to the hungry./ The LORD sets the prisoners free;/ the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.” The right to health care includes care for persons with brain diseases, neurological conditions or physical disabilities, who must be afforded the same access to health care as all other persons in our communities. It is unjust to construct or perpetuate barriers to physical or mental wholeness or full participation in community. We encourage individuals to pursue a healthy lifestyle and affirm the importance of preventive health care, health education, environmental and occupational safety, good nutrition, and secure affordable housing in achieving health. We also recognize the role of governments in ensuring that each individual has access to those elements necessary to good health. Countries facing a public health crisis such as HIV/AIDS must have access to generic medicines and to patented medicines without infringing on a pharmaceutical company's patent/licensing rights. We affirm the right of men and women to have access to comprehensive reproductive health/family planning information and services which will serve as a means to prevent unplanned pregnancies, reduce abortions and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
You don't have to agree with the social principles to be part of the United Methodist Church, so if you happen to disagree with our official stance or the opinion of your preacher, don't leave your church. I have some strong disagreements with other parts of our discipline, but I'm not surrendering my credentials over them.
Agree? Great. Disagree? Great. Let's take some time to talk about why. Let's put away the sound-bytes for a few minutes and try to see the good in those with whom we disagree. We just might learn something, and we might even be transformed, ourselves, regardless of whether we end up agreeing.
About the author
Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2012/06/the-umc-speaks-on-health-care/