Guest Blog: Partisan fireworks distract from real benefits of health care reform
By Ali Faruk
Ali serves as the Muslim Campus Minister at The College of William & Mary. He was formerly a Policy Analyst at the Virginia Interfaith Center and currently blogs about his muslim faith and politics at Faith in Progress.
Today’s landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court will play a huge part in the 2012 President Elections. But we shouldn’t let the partisan fireworks distract us from the reality of health care reform:
-It helps all Americans get health care they need
-It makes health insurance more affordable and begins to control costs
-It reforms abusive insurance practices
Though the country may seem divided, many Muslims support health care reform as a moral issue. Below are some excerpts published by national muslim organizations on health care reform over the past few years. I bolded points I wanted to emphasize.
Islamic Society of North America (ISNA):
“We are glad to see members of Congress working to improve the lives of their constituents,” said Mohamed Elsanousi, ISNA Community Outreach Director. “Health care is a basic human right and should be available to all those who seek it,” he added.
ISNA has been a longtime supporter of Health Care Reform. Our partnership with Cover the Uninsured, as a member of it’s National Interfaith Advisory Board, spans over a decade and has yielded such victories as the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Bill into law in 2009, helping provide more than 8 million American children with health insurance. During the Health Care Reform debate this last year, ISNA has issued a position paper in support of Health Care Reform and facilitated the participation of Muslim health professionals in the debate by organizing round table discussions and holding meetings to develop a strong position among them in support of Health Care Reform. ISNA also promoted Health Care Reform among its members and affiliate organizations.
“This inclusive health care reform is important and necessary to protect the most vulnerable members of our society, the uninsured,” said Dr. Ingrid Mattson, president of ISNA.
Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC):
Fear-mongering on the parts of the insurance companies, political parties, major corporations and lobbyists has overshadowed the positive aspects of what reform for our healthcare system means. The profit-driven agenda of these companies and political establishments has sidelined the better good of the people and thus the national interest.
A prime example is the exploitation of the country’s current economic and psychological state by using our deficit as a means of intimidation to challenge the public’s perception of the healthcare budget. The budget is estimated to be at $900 billion, but dispersed throughout a 10 year period. In comparison, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are estimated to be at $860 billion so far, and neither war is over.… the increase in the number of insured Americans, the prohibition of insurance companies to withhold coverage due to preexisting conditions, and the money saved by families, businesses, and government to decrease the deficit over the long-run is what ultimately should be considered as measures of success.
Islamic Circle of North American (ICNA):
The struggle for justice in healthcare has a long history, beginning nearly a hundred years ago as people vying for health coverage began to face opposition from established opinions and bias.
The healthcare reform bill signed this morning will guarantee over 95% of Americans health insurance coverage. Insurers will no longer be allowed to deny coverage; the public will have a variety of competing plans to choose from.
Additionally, it will cut the federal budget deficit. Health insurance will not only become more affordable for families and small businesses (due to new tax credits), but seniors on Medicare will pay less for their prescription drugs.
The bill is designed to create or save more than 2.5 million jobs. Medicaid will be expanded, and young adults will be able to remain on their families’ insurance plans until the age of 26. Community health centers will also double the number of patients who can be treated.