Jewish groups praising health care reform bill’s passage


NEW YORK (JTA) — 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, director of the Religious Action Center, the public policy branch 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.”

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