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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Health Care

We were asked last week if there were resolutions filed regarding health care in the United States. The following is the only resolution prefiled.

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 76th General Convention call on its congregations to undertake discussions within the parish of the issue of health care coverage in the United States, including:

a) recognition that health is multi-dimensional, with spiritual, social, environmental, and mental elements as well as physical,

b) reminder of personal responsibility for healthy life choices and concern for maintaining one's own health,

c) proclaiming the Gospel message of concern for others which extends to concern for their physical health as well as spiritual well-being,

d) responsibility as a parish to attend to the needs (including health-related needs) of others, both other members of the parish family and those of the wider community, the nation, and the world,

e) recognition that there are limits to what the healthcare system can and should provide and thus that some uncomfortable and difficult choices may have to be made if we are to limit healthcare costs; and be it further

Resolved, That, following up on the discussions within the parishes, communicants, individually and congregationally, be urged to contact elected federal and state officials encouraging them to:

a) create, with the assistance of experts in related fields, a comprehensive definition of "basic healthcare" to which our nation's citizens have a right,

b) establish a system to provide basic healthcare to all,

c) create an oversight mechanism, separate from the immediate political arena, to audit the delivery of that "basic healthcare,"

d) educate our citizens in the need for limitations on what each person can be expected to receive in the way of medical care under a universal coverage program in order to make the program sustainable financially,

e) educate our citizens in the role of personal responsibility in promoting good health with provisions of restricting to some degree treatments for disease in which the patient fails or refuses to comply with good medical practice; and be it further,

Resolved, That this resolution be distributed to all dioceses of the Episcopal Church of America for their consideration and support; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention call upon the Episcopal Church to establish and fund a task force to develop action plans and educational materials for dioceses and parishes to conduct the above-described activities; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention request the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to consider a budget allocation of $5,000 for the implementation of this resolution.


We, the members of the Bioethics Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee believe that:
a) provision of basic healthcare for all is a duty of a nation of Judaic-Christian values and, furthermore,
b) the current healthcare delivery system of the United States is flawed in failing to provide comprehensive coverage for 47 million of our citizens and, furthermore,
c) our current system with its escalating costs represents a non-sustainable financial challenge to employers competing in a global market,
d) the steps we specify above are all necessary to address this problem adequately.

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