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Jewish groups praising health care reform bill’s passage

Jewish groups are lauding the U.S. Congress’ passage of a health care reform bill.

On Monday, the morning after the House of Representatives passed a measure that would create sweeping change in the way health care is provided in the United States, a slew of Jewish groups issued statements in support and looking forward to its signature into law by President Obama.

B’nai B’rith International was among the groups hailing the bill’s passage.

“As the leading Jewish sponsor of supportive housing for seniors over the last 40 years, we have seen the impact the lack of life-time access to health care has on people as they age," the group said in a statement. "It is for that reason that we believe expanding access to health care for people of all ages is fundamental to achieving healthy aging for each generation.”

The statement went on to say that "Life-long access to quality health care, which should include prevention, diagnostic, and maintenance of chronic conditions, will ensure everyone can age in good health.”

Voting along party lines, House members passed the bill, 219-212, late Sunday night.

Rabbi David Saperstein, the executive director of the Religious Action Committee, the political lobby of the Reform movement, said in a statement that the adopted bill "is not perfect. But it is necessary."

"This is a unique and urgent moment in history; a moment of great promise and great challenge as Congress works together with doctors, hospitals, labor unions, businesses, insurers, drug companies and people of faith to ensure fundamental and comprehensive health insurance reform that provides for a healthy future for millions of Americans,” his statement said.

In a news release Monday, the National Jewish Democratic Council said, "We are confident that when historians look back on this day, they will equate the passage of this bill with such monumental legislative achievements as the passage of Social Security in the 1930’s. This bill also reflects the clear groundswell of support in the American Jewish community — both among individuals and organizations — for the change in our health care system that’s so desperately needed today."

One of the few Jewish groups not enthusiastic about the health care reform bill is the Republican Jewish Coalition, which had yet to comment early Monday but as recently as last week called the proposal “deeply flawed.”

“Substantively, the Obama plan is wrong for America," RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said in a statement. "It will worsen our already dire fiscal situation. It will cause even more job losses — at a time when we desperately need to be creating jobs. It will cause millions of Americans to lose health-care arrangements they are satisfied with. And it will not address the health-care cost problem that Americans are most concerned about.”

Click below to see what organization weighed in with what press release. We’ll keep updating them as the day goes by.

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NJDC: Groundbreaking Health Care Reform Passage “Culminates a 100-Year Effort”

NJDC Chairman Marc R. Stanley: “We are confident that when historians look back on this day, they will equate the passage of this bill with such monumental legislative achievements as the passage of Social Security in the 1930’s.”

Washington, DC: Marc R. Stanley, Chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), today released the following statement:

The National Jewish Democratic Council congratulates the U.S. House of Representatives on the passage of a historic health care reform package that represents a giant step forward in improving the welfare of the citizens of the United States. The Democratic leadership of the U.S. House – guided by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – demonstrated tremendous skill and true leadership in orchestrating this groundbreaking reform of the U.S. health care system.

The importance of this legislation cannot be overstated. This action culminates a 100-year effort to ensure that the people of the United States have the same type of access to health care as citizens of nearly every other industrialized nation. We are confident that when historians look back on this day, they will equate the passage of this bill with such monumental legislative achievements as the passage of Social Security in the 1930’s. This bill also reflects the clear groundswell of support in the American Jewish community – both among individuals and organizations – for the change in our health care system that’s so desperately needed today.

Only a handful of presidents have had this type of singular legislative achievement in their careers, and this landmark moment is a remarkable testament to President Barack Obama’s leadership. The legislation can only be improved further in the coming days by the passage in the U.S. Senate of a reconciliation bill. We are confident that the Democratic leadership in the Senate will show similar resolve and wisdom in finishing this critical reform process.

B’nai B’rith: Welcomes House passage of health care 

Critical Need for Health Care Restructuring One Big Step Closer to Reality

(Washington, D.C., March 22, 2010)—Millions of Americans are on the cusp of having access to health insurance after the House of Representatives passed a health care reform bill on March 22.

The momentous health care overhaul bill would give more than 30 million currently-uninsured Americans access to affordable medical care.

B’nai B’rith has a long-time special interest in issues important to seniors, particularly housing and health care.  As the leading Jewish sponsor of supportive housing for seniors over the last 40 years we have seen the impact the lack of life-time access to health care has on people as they age.  It is for that reason that we believe expanding access to health care for people of all ages is fundamental to achieving healthy aging for each generation. 

As an advocate for America’s seniors, B’nai B’rith is committed to ensuring all Americans have the opportunity to stay healthy as they age. Life-long access to quality health care, which should include prevention, diagnostic, and maintenance of chronic conditions, will ensure everyone can age in good health.

“Increasing access to affordable, quality health care is the very cornerstone of our principles of health care reform,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “The bill would create a voluntary, self-funded, long-term care insurance program, limit or eliminate discrimination based on age, gender and pre-existing condition and health status, and finally help pool risk in the non-employer job market—all of which would have a positive impact for so many Americans.”

The issue of health care reform has taken on a new urgency as the job market has been slow to recover from the nation’s fiscal crisis. It has been nearly impossible for most Americans to afford insurance on the individual market.

“This measure, while not perfect, addresses the top priority of health care reform—getting more people affordable access to care,” B’nai B’rith Director of Aging Policy Rachel Goldberg, Ph.D., said. “For far too long health care was often the domain of the well-off or the lucky.”

The bill passed by the House, parts of which must still be approved by the Senate, also improves Medicare’s financial future without cutting into the program’s guaranteed benefits. By making the program more efficient and more geared toward paying for good outcomes, these changes could not only improve the Medicare program but serve as an example for the rest of the health care system. 

B’nai B’rith International, the Global Voice of the Jewish Community, is the oldest and most widely known Jewish humanitarian, human rights, and advocacy organization.  For 166 years, BBI has worked for Jewish unity, security, continuity, and tolerance.  Visit www.bnaibrith.org.

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The Republican Jewish Coalition: Opposes "deeply flawed" Obamacare bill; laments squandered opportunity for sensible reform

Friday, March 19, 2010

Washington, D.C. (March 19, 2010) — This weekend, the House of Representatives is expected to decide the fate of President Obama’s unpopular plan to give the federal government unprecedented control over every American’s health-care.

Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks released the following statement:

The Republican Jewish Coalition regrets that the opportunity to pursue sensible insurance reforms on a bipartisan basis was squandered because of the approach embraced by President Obama and Democrat congressional leaders.

Even if this bill passes, it will only do so by the narrowest of margins, with the skids greased by indefensible special favors and unprecedented (and perhaps unconstitutional) procedural sleights of hand. This process has further undermined Americans’ trust in their legislators.

Substantively, the Obama plan is wrong for America. It will worsen our already dire fiscal situation. It will cause even more job losses – at a time when we desperately need to be creating jobs. It will cause millions of Americans to lose health-care arrangements they are satisfied with. And it will not address the health-care cost problem that Americans are most concerned about.

We are proud to have been the leading voice of opposition to this deeply flawed legislation in the Jewish community, and if it is enacted, we will join the effort to repeal it.

The Religious Action Committee, the political lobby of the Reform Movement: Hailed House passage of President Obama’s health care reform bill.

“Saperstein: “The bill approved by the House today is, like most legislation, a collection of compromises, but there is no mistaking that it is a vital step toward more affordable, accessible and quality health care for all Americans.”

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 22, 2010 – In response to yesterday’s House passage of the vital health insurance reform bill, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

We applaud the House’s historic action last night in bringing the nation closer to a necessary and long-overdue reform of our broken health insurance system. The bill approved by the House is, like most legislation, a collection of compromises, but there is no mistaking that it is a vital step toward more affordable, accessible and quality health care for all Americans.

In the current crisis – in which 47 million Americans lack access to health insurance coverage and health care costs spiral ever higher – the House’s action moves us closer to reform based on the principles for which we have firmly advocated: protection of low income and other vulnerable populations, higher quality and more affordable care, and a system based on a financially sustainable foundation.

We know that the health reform bill adopted by the House is not perfect.  But it is necessary.  This is a unique and urgent moment in history; a moment of great promise and great challenge as Congress works together with doctors, hospitals, labor unions, businesses, insurers, drug companies and people of faith to ensure fundamental and comprehensive health insurance reform that provides for a healthy future for millions of Americans.

Guided by teachings in our sacred texts, we remain committed to the passage of health insurance reform that provides the highest quality of care for the greatest number of Americans.  We are pleased that yesterday’s House-passed bill brings us closer to that goal, and we are proud of the role Reform Movement activists played in this critical victory. Jewish tradition mandates that society provide for its citizens’ basic needs, including health care; reform is a medical, economic and above all, a moral imperative. We look forward to working with Members of Congress toward swift enactment of a final reform package.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis.

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