1. In July of 2005, the Mennonite Church USA delegates approved Healthcare Access Statement: Our Theology, which states that “Because the scriptural test of a just nation is how it treats its weakest members (Micah 6:8, Amos 5:24, Jeremiah 5:26-29) we will be clear and consistent advocates to policymakers on behalf of public health matters and access to healthcare for everyone.”
2. Our Healthcare Access Statement also affirms that a biblically-compatible healthcare system would:
- 1. Celebrate God’s generous provision of resources, assuring enough for everyone when shared equitably by all (Genesis 1-2; Leviticus 25; Psalm 35:5-9; 2 Corinthians 8-9);
- 2. Promote the flourishing (shalom) of the whole community, including each of its members (John 13:34-35; Acts 2-4; Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12:12ff);
- 3. Protect the well-being of the weakest and most vulnerable members of society (Deuteronomy 10:17-19, 24:17-22; Psalm 72; Isaiah 1:16-17; Jeremiah 7:5-7; Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 1:46-55, 4:16-21); and
- 4. Cultivate stewardship of God’s resources.
3. In 2007, several Mennonite Church agencies affirmed a set of Healthcare Policy Principles, including “Support for a healthcare system in which risks, cost and responsibility are shared by all,” and “Eliminate financial and health status as barriers to healthcare access.” These policies were received by the 2007 Mennonite Church delegate body.
4. 45.7 million Americans were uninsured in 2007 and many more are without health insurance today. Uninsured Americans are predominantly members of lower-income households and disproportionately members of minority groups. The uninsured get less medical care and get it later when it is less efficacious. The Institute of Medicine has concluded that every year thousands of Americans die prematurely from lack of health insurance.
5. The United States Congress is currently considering legislation that could extend healthcare financing to many of those who currently find it difficult to get access to healthcare because they are uninsured.
Be it thereby resolved that:
1. We reaffirm our 2005 Healthcare Access Statement and affirm the 2007 Healthcare Policy Principles.
2. We will ask our members and congregations to urge their congressional representatives to support legislation that would extend access to healthcare to all Americans, particularly the poor and disadvantaged, while we engage local healthcare needs.
3. We will work together with others to bring about this result.
4. We will pray for healthcare access for Americans across our land, as well as those working on behalf of this issue.
This resolution was approved by the Mennonite Church USA Assembly at Columbus, Ohio on 4 July 2009. It was originally prepared by Tim Jost, Harrisonburg, Virginia as a a follow-up to a 2007 action by the Mennonite Church USA delegate assembly to provide health-care access to all pastors. Seven delegates among the 850-member body voted against the resolution.