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August 2009 Healthcare Fact Sheet


									Support Comprehensive Health Insurance Reform
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs strongly supports health insurance reform that provides affordable, quality healthcare for all. JCPA launched its national anti-poverty initiative, "There Shall Be No Needy Among You," in 2007. Through this campaign, JCPA and other Jewish, interfaith and civil-rights organizations are urging local, state, and national leaders to advance anti-poverty legislation and programs that help provide food, shelter, additional work and educational opportunities for the nation's most vulnerable. One of our priorities is ensuring that the most vulnerable benefit from health insurance reform and have access to needed care. Our grassroots efforts have led to an increased national commitment to reduce poverty.

Support Comprehensive Health Insurance Reform
Background: Judaism teaches: “whoever saves a life, it is as if he saved an entire world.” (Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:1,22a). Our revered sage Maimonides (1135-1204) put healthcare first at the top of his priority list of the ten most important services a government should offer its residents. (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot De’ot IV:23). JCPA’s long-standing advocacy on health insurance reform legislation has been propelled by both this moral mandate from our Jewish tradition, and our community’s experience providing healthcare services to millions of vulnerable people across the United States. To this end, we urge Congress to pass comprehensive health insurance reform THIS YEAR that will provide affordable, quality healthcare for all. We believe that health insurance reform represents an opportunity to make common-sense improvements that will enhance the ability of social service providers to assist vulnerable populations and simultaneously ensure that the Jewish obligation to “pursue justice” is manifested in public policy outcomes that promote healthcare for all. Principles for Reform: Earlier this year, JCPA issued six healthcare reform principles that have shaped our advocacy efforts. Below please find our bolded principles for healthcare reform and public policy proposals JCPA supports that reflect these values: 1. Access to Health Services for All: In 2009, over 46 million Americans lack access to health care and every year 22,000 people in the United States die prematurely simply because they could not access the health services they needed. Any healthcare reform should ensure that every individual and family has access to a doctor, and qualified providers for their care regardless of income or other barriers. Policy Principle: JCPA supports efforts by members of Congress to create individual and employer mandates that will make it possible for everyone to acquire health insurance. Any mandate must be accompanied by a sliding scale of subsidies to help lower and middle income families afford healthcare. 2. Caring for the most vulnerable: Healthcare reform should strengthen and enhance Medicaid coverage to serve all low-income people. More than 1/3 of the uninsured live beneath the federal poverty line, and Medicaid is the best option to serve this population as it protects low-income families from unaffordable out-of-pocket costs, and is designed to cover the unique
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About Us
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) is the united voice of the organized Jewish community. For over half a century, the JCPA has served as an effective mechanism to identify issues, formulate policy, develop strategies and programs, and has given expression to a strongly united Jewish communal voice. By virtue of the JCPA's unique position and structure, our ability to reach out and motivate Jews and non-Jews alike to action is unparalleled. Through our network of 14 national and 125 local equal and independent partner agencies, the JCPA serves as a catalyst that heightens community awareness, encourages civic and social involvement, and deliberates key issues of importance to the Jewish community. JCPA was formally established as National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC) in 1944 by the Council of Jewish Federations to be the public affairs branch of the organized Jewish community. The name was changed to the Jewish Council for Public Affairs in 1997 to reflect more accurately the mission of the agency.

healthcare needs of vulnerable populations who require comprehensive care. Expanding and strengthening Medicaid should be a critical part of healthcare reform. Policy Principle: The current bills before Congress would represent a major, federally-funded expansion of Medicaid coverage for millions of low-income working families. The Medicaid provisions in the House and Senate bills would expand eligibility to at least 133 percent of the federal poverty line, extending coverage to over one-third of the uninsured (over 17 million people). JCPA urges Congress to maintain at least this eligibility floor for Medicaid coverage. 3. Incorporating long-term services and supports: For enhanced health care access to be a true success, long-term services and supports that include delivery of high quality, affordable and accessible care should be incorporated into reform efforts. These services and supports will lead to a more comprehensive continuum of care that will be able to meet the influx of Baby Boomers who will need supportive services as they age. Policy Principle: Both the Senate HELP Committee Bill and the House Energy & Commerce Bill include the CLASS (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports) Act, a bill that provides long-term services and supports. JCPA urges the inclusion of this provision in the final version of health insurance reform. 4. Choice and Affordability: Healthcare reform should preserve and expand the choices available to healthcare consumers. Individuals and families should be able to choose their doctors & health providers, as well as select from a wide range health care plans, including choice of a public option such as one modeled on the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) which every member of Congress and their families has the means to access. Health reform must also be made more affordable, putting the government on a more sustainable fiscal path, and bringing costs down for families and individuals. Policy Principle: JCPA supports the inclusion of a strong public option in health insurance reform and urges members of Congress to retain this provision in the final version of the legislation. A robust public option would help to keep costs down and promote accountability in the private insurance market. We also support reasonable limits on out-of-pocket medical expenses to help keep coverage affordable. 5. Equity: Healthcare reform should end unfair insurance practices that allow companies to discriminate based on pre-existing conditions. It should also address entrenched disparities in access, treatment, research and resources in race, gender, ethnicity, language and geographically-underserved communities & 6. Comprehensive Care: Healthcare reform should put forth a standard for health benefits that offers comprehensive coverage, including all medically necessary treatments when people are ill, but also preventive care that will strive to promote wellness in individuals and their families. Policy Principle: JCPA supports the creation of a national insurance exchange, which would help create a better-functioning market for health insurance. Such an exchange would prevent health plans from denying coverage or charging exorbitant premiums based on pre-existing conditions, health status, gender, or age.

Support Comprehensive Health Insurance Reform

We urge members of Congress to incorporate policies that reflect these principles into the final legislation. It is critical that we pass health insurance reform that promotes quality, affordable healthcare for all THIS YEAR.

116 E. 27th Street • 10th Floor • New York • New York • 10016 • 212.684.6950 • 1775 K Street, NW • Suite 320 • Washington • District of Columbia • 20006 • 202.212.6036 •

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