Monday, March 16, 2009

Sound the alarm for health care reform

The Campaign for Better Health Care is stepping up mobilization for affordable health care reform. Below is a statement by the group about an action by churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship recently:


CHICAGO - Over 300 congregations and 50,000 parishioners representing all faith traditions throughout Illinois participated in the Campaign for Better Health Care's 2009 Sound the Alarm program this weekend, drawing attention to the plight of the state's more than 1.8 million uninsured residents, the 18 people per week who die for lack of health care and the effect of exploding health care costs on Illinois' families.

As part of the weekend events, congregations paused during worship services to pray for those in their community who are struggling to get affordable health insurance and who are suffering from the health care crisis; read scripture and liturgies related to healing and justice; held discussion groups on the role of health care as the key to economic security and opportunity for all people; shared personal health care stories to be sent to their local congressperson; and rang a bell or sound a horn or Shofar 18 times.

Faith leaders representing participating congregations from the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions included Rev. Dan Schwick from Lutheran Social Services of Illinois and Lutheran Advocacy-Illinois; Rabbi Paul Kaplan from Moses Montefiore Temple in Bloomington, and Faten Salameh from the Mosque Foundation. Ms. Salameh spoke of the economic impact of the health care crisis on members of her faith community. "More and more, people are not able to afford necessary health care. They struggle to save their home and pay for food, and the stress of not having health care adds to their every day burden."

Rev. Schwick explained that Sound the Alarm 2009 is one of many ongoing health care activities his organization takes part in on a regular basis. "We recognize that in a responsible society that truly values human life, we must ensure that everyone has access to quality, affordable health care," he said. "Our health care delivery system distributes resources unfairly and offers compassion only to those that can afford it. Equal access to health care is a justice issue and a moral necessity that our leaders in Springfield and Washington must address immediately," said Rabbi Kaplan.

Jim Duffett, Executive Director for the Campaign for Better Health Care, remarked, "The faith traditions of the world encourage their members to engage in healing, to act with justice, and to treat one another with compassion. Health care is the key to economic security and opportunity for all people, and a system that provides quality, affordable health care for all is a moral imperative." He can be contacted for further information about Sound the Alarm 2009 or the Faith Caucus at (217) 352-5600 or

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