One Biblical word stands for three concepts. Tzedek speaks of social justice, charity and righteousness. Thus the personal, the philanthropic and the social are inextricably linked in the traditional.
The ultimate meaning of Tzedek is not to be determined by how those of affluence or influence fare, but by how the least among us, the widow, the orphan, the elderly and the poor manage in our society.
There are currently thirty-seven million people in the United States (75% of whom are working people and their families) who are not a part of a health insurance plan of any sort. Fifty million other Americans are under-insured. Over 200 million Americans lack insurance protection against catastrophic, acute or long-term care costs.
Medicaid and substitute state programs cover less than half of all people living in poverty, and one in five children have no insurance coverage. These statistics are even more shocking in light of the fact that the United States spent $425 billion on health care in 1985, almost 11% of the Gross National Product. Health care costs are skyrocketing, and it is not only the poor in this country who simply cannot afford adequate health care.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Union of American Hebrew Congregations urge enactment of state and federal legislation in the United States.
- To insure that all Americans whether or not able to provide for themselves are guaranteed essential health care coverage.
- To guarantee affordable health insurance coverage in the event of catastrophic illness.
- To provide for long-term care, including adequate home health care, hospice care, nursing home care, ambulatory day care, and health related day care; assistance toward the cost of prescription drugs; a change in the deductible rule so that it is applied to each illness rather than each hospitalization; and no requirement that the patient's family be poor or approach impoverishment as a condition of government assistance.