Health Care Reform in Maryland – ELCA Lutheran Involvement

July, 2009

Brother and Sisters of the ELCA;

You’re hearing a lot about health care reform in the news. Perhaps you’ve heard about it from our ELCA advocates in Washington if you’re part of the e-advocacy network.

Did you know that Maryland has been working to cover all Marylanders for eight years? And that we ELCA Lutherans have been part of that effort every year since it began? What have we done?

  • We’ve covered more Maryland kids, and their parents
  • We’ve required insurance companies to keep young adults up to age 25 on their parents’ policies.
  • We’ve established a generous prescription drug assistance program
  • We’ve restricted limitations and exclusions on medical insurance policies
  • We’ve provided medical insurance to lower-income adults
  • We’ve enrolled those eligible for State programs

When we began the mission was to continue advocating changes, expansions, policies and programs until everyone in Maryland had adequate coverage for appropriate health care at an affordable cost. We’re not there yet, but we’re closer.  Now the leadership of the General Assembly has caught the vision of universal access and is considering how to finish the job. This summer House and Senate leaders will study options and possibilities for covering all Marylanders. A proposal that will guide their considerations is the Health Care for All Plan  endorsed by LOPP/MD and many health, religious, human service, and community organizations.

What can you do to make sure that everyone in your congregation and community has affordable health care coverage?

SIGN-ON! We, the board for ELCA public advocacy in Maryland, ask you, your congregation and its organizations to endorse the resolution in light of what we say about health care access: We urge all people to advocate for access to basic health care for all and to participate vigorously and responsibly in the public discussion of how best to fulfill this obligation [ELCA, “Caring for our Health,” 2003]. You’ll find a summary of the Plan at the link above.

SIGN UP! Be a part of the expansion effort by partnering with Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative Education Fund (MCHI) and the State to find the uninsured. MCHI has resources to do this but we need community connections to get the word out. Your parish nursing ministries, your women’s and men’s organizations, your daycares, preschools and after-schools, your Sunday Schools, community partners and ministeriums are great places to let people know that if someone has no health insurance there are State programs that make it available. Contact MCHI or LOPP/MD to get started.

Whatever happens in federal health care reform, the states will have a role. LOPP/MD and MCHI are available to discuss the Maryland proposal and how it may fit with a new, federal health care reform plan. Decision-makers in Maryland and in Washington will act when we show our commitment to universal coverage. Sign-on and sign-up; let’s work to cover everyone.

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