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August 28, 2015 | 13th Elul 5775

Why Universal Health Care?

Judaism has always stressed the idea of universal access to health care, teaching, “Whoever is in pain, lead him to a physician” (Baba Kamma 46b). However, that command remains largely an aspiration today. 47 million Americans (16 percent of the population) do not have health insurance coverage, yet despite this, costs continue to rise. In fact every thirty seconds, an American files for bankruptcy after having health problems.

We believe that the only way to combat this problem is for the government to ensure universal health care to all of its constituents. Throughout its existence, our Movement has argued for accessible, affordable, quality health care. This sentiment can best be summed up by the 1987 resolution entitled Health Care which urged state and national legislators “To insure that all Americans whether or not able to provide for themselves are guaranteed essential health care coverage.”

Whoever is in pain, lead them to a physician

Baba Kamma 46b

"Nearly 47 million Americans lack even basic coverage, and for tens of millions more, their coverage provides little help if major illness strikes. They often learn that truth too late, when bankruptcy results from massive bills their insurance doesn’t cover.  Parents struggling to save a critically ill child find themselves mortgaging their homes, maxing out their credit cards, borrowing every dime they can.  Even with health insurance, they still stand to lose everything they’ve worked for.

Costs are obviously heading in the wrong direction. National health spending has grown from 1.35 trillion dollars in 2000 to an estimated 2.3 trillion dollars this year; By a trillion dollars more in less than a decade.  Those aren’t just numbers, they're massive burdens for working families."

Senator Edward Kennedy.  January 10, 2007

Congregations should “continue their educational effort on the issue of health care, with a special focus on promoting advocacy by our congregations, their members, and UAHC affiliates of reform of the health care system embodying the principles of this resolution on both state and national levels.

1993 URJ resolution, Reform of Health Care System


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