The UMC’s General Board of Church and Society cheered the U.S. Supreme Court decision Thursday that upholds the health care act championed by President Obama.
“The Affordable Care Act is a huge step in the right direction and we celebrate provisions in that law that continue to fill the gaps and expand existing health care, particularly to low-income Americans,” said a statement released by Jim Winkler, top executive of Church and Society, and the Rev. Cynthia Abrams, the agency’s director for Alcohol, Other Addictions & Health Care.
The statement noted that the UMC’s Social Principles recognize a right to health care, and said such a position is “informed by biblical and theological witness.”
Lonnie Chafin, treasurer of the Northern Illinois Conference, also spoke positively about the court ruling upholding the basics of the health care law.
“I expect our conference’s annual health-care costs to go from $15,500 to $6,000 per appointment,” Mr. Chafin said in the statement from Church and Society. “We should reduce health-care spending from just over $5 million a year to barely above $2 million.”
The Board of Church and Society joined many religious groups – Christian, Jewish and Muslim – in supporting the health care act.
“We call on Congress to refrain from further introduction of legislation that would derail full implementation by defunding, dismantling or eliminating programs that are included in the Affordable Care Act,” those groups, including Church and Society, said Thursday in a statement.
The UMC’s General Board of Pension and Health Benefits also commented Thursday on the Supreme Court’s decision.
“In light of this ruling, GBPHB’s legal staff and the Center for Health will continue to review the Affordable Care Act and the regulations and guidance issued under it in order to be prepeared to implement all components of the ACA as they apply to the HealthFlex health plan,” the agency’s statement said. “GBPHB will continue to provide information about the ACA to all annual conferences and the denomination, as regulations and guidance are published by federal regulators.”
The Healthflex health plan covers about 27,000 people from nearly half of the U.S. annual conferences.