The Congress of the United States is considering various health care reform proposals which will affect every American, all businesses and most institutions, including church-related hospitals and c1inics.
The need for change seems evident. Health care inflation rates are nearly double that of general inflationary rates. In addition, it is troubling that so many Americans are without health insurance -some voluntarily, others for short periods of time, still others due to unemployment and factors beyond their control, and millions because they are uninsurable. The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), therefore, welcomes health care reform and suggests the following principles should guide the debate:
- Abortion is not health care. Any health care plan which includes coverage for elective abortion should be rejected. This includes abortion referral, payment for abortion, or the training of medical personnel for abortion practices.
- Euthanasia should never be endorsed by government or surrogates, including mandatory health alliances. Furthermore, the right of people with disabilities to adequate medical care must be safeguarded. Budgetary caps could eventually require health care rationing; and if universal rationing of medical services occurs without government prohibition of euthanasia and protection of people with disabilities, the nation could enter a slippery slope toward an unacceptable "quality of life" ethic.
- Any health care plan should reinforce, not undermine, personal responsibility. Persons who engage in behavior which adversely affects their health, such as smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, promiscuity and over-eating, should be responsible for the additional medical liability.
- Since the cost of health care has risen significantly because of medical malpractice insurance, apparent frivolous claims, and extreme awards, corrective action through judicial and tort law reform is necessary without compromising the ability of injured persons to receive just compensation.
Recognizing the need for health care reforms and the desire to make health care available to all but also recognizing the complexity of the challenge, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) calls upon the President and members of Congress to diligently seek to make health care accessible to all; to promote judicial and tort law reform which will bring into balance legitimate claims and fair compensation; to enlist the counsel and help of governmental institutions, social agencies, insurance companies and churches to establish health care provisions which will maximize the creativity of the private sector while minimizing governmental control.