The SEIU, joined by more than 750 organizations, organizational leaders, congregations, clergy and local and state elected officials, from 46 states, representing more than 100 million people, has now written an open letter to President Obama and Congress about health insurance reform and the ping-ponging going on soon in which they endorse many key House provisions:
Yet, health care reform can only succeed if it makes coverage truly affordable for ordinary families who are finding it more and more difficult to get the care they need. Requiring people to purchase health insurance that costs too much and covers too little would frustrate the fundamental goals of health reform and undermine the public support needed to pass and sustain reform.
More, after the fold.
The House coverage provisions are much better:
The House of Representatives has passed health reform legislation that would cover 36 million people, 96 percent of all legal residents. The House covers five million more people than the Senate. We urge you to support the coverage provisions in the House bill, so that millions of Americans are not left uninsured after the passage of comprehensive health reform.
The House Bill sets premiums and out-of-pocket costs at levels affordable to lower-income working families. The Senate bill is arguably a little better for middle income workers. SEIU says combine them so both lower-income and middle-income workers can afford the insurance they will be mandated to buy:
On the critical question of making coverage affordable, the House legislation sets premiums and out-of-pocket costs at levels that are likely to be affordable to lower-income working families. The House does a much better job in protecting lower-income people. The Senate approach provides somewhat better protections for middle-income workers, but would require lower-wage workers to buy insurance that costs many thousands of dollars more than the House legislation. We urge you to take the best elements of both approaches to create legislation that would protect all families from costs they cannot afford
Thus, SEIU and the various religious and other organizations endorse the House provisions on coverage and premiums and out-of-pocket costs for lower-income workers, and the Senate provisions for middle-income workers.
The undersigned are not collectively endorsing or supporting every element of either the House or Senate legislation, but we are unified in believing that (1) the House does a far better job at extending coverage to many more people; (2) that the House sets premium and out-of-pocket costs for lower-income workers at levels that are essential to the success of health reform; and (3) the Senate protections for middle-income families should be included in the final bill.
It's signed by SEIU, a Jesuit leader, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ameerica (the ones who now allow gay marriage and gay clergy), the Director of the Union for Reform Judaism, Sojourners, AARp, the National Council of La Raza, and many others.
Signed by more than 750 organizations, organizational leaders, congregations, clergy and local and state elected officials, from 46 states, representing more than 100 million people.
Here are the National Organizations:
Robert Restuccia, Executive Director, Community Catalyst
Ron Pollack, Executive Director, Families USA
Gerald Smith, Coordinator, Health Rights Organizing Project
Rev. Dr. George Cummings, National Steering Committee Co-Chair, PICO National Network
Andy Stern, President, Service Employees International Union
Rev. Thomas H. Smolich, S.J., President, Jesuit Conference USA
Mr. Ron Byler, Acting Executive Director, Mennonite Church USA, Elkhart, Indiana
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
Ms. Anastassia Zinke, National Council of Churches of the USA,
Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Union for Reform Judaism
Mr. James E. Winkler, General Secretary, United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Victoria L. Kovari, Interim President, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good
Rev. Jennifer Hope Kottler, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Sojourners
Rev. Linda Hanna Walling, Faithful Reform in Health Care
Ms. Nancy Brown, CEO, American Heart Association National
National Council of La Raza
Mr. Jeff Blum, Executive Director, USA Action,
Mr. Richard Kirsch, Campaign Manager, Health Care for America Now
Mr. Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director, Campaign for Community Change
National Partnership for Women & Families
Ms. Tiffany Garnder, JD, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative
Ms. Helena R Berger, Chief Ooperating Officer, American Association of People with Disabilities*
Mr. Andrew H Mott, Executive Director, Community Learning Partnership
Mr. Doni Remba, Executive Director, Jewish Alliance for Change
Mr. Cliff Frasier, Faith Coordinator, SEIU Faith Initiative
Ms. Carol Regan, Director, PHI Health Care for Health Care Workers
Ms. Meredith L Dodson, Director of Domestic Campaigns, RESULTS
Mr. William E Arnold, CEO, Community Access National Network
Dr. Jean Silver-Isenstadt, MD, PhD, Executive Director, National Physicians Alliance, National
Dr. Robert Crittenden, Executive Director, Herndon Alliance
Romal J. Tune, CEO, Clergy Strategic Alliances
Ms. Heather Stone, Change That Works
Mr. Carl E Schmid, Deputy Executive Director, The AIDS Institute
Mr. William Arnold, Executive Director, Community Access National Network
As teacherken reminds us this morning in his great diary, we must follow our consciences and do what it right. In the words of The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? Conscience asks the question, is it right?
There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.
To President Obama and Democrats in Congress: listen to your consciences. This is a matter of right and wrong, not abstract wonkery.