‘The moral threads that hold our nation together are coming undone’

Authors: Rev. Dr. Timothy E. Tyler, Ron Ruggiero, Rabbi Bernard R. Gerson - July 12, 2017 - Updated: July 12, 2017

Rev. Dr. Timothy E. Tyler

As leaders in the faith and labor communities, we stand together during one of the greatest injustices of our time as Senators push for a bill that is a moral travesty and will hurt nearly every family in our nation. Like most Americans, we know that Medicaid and quality, affordable healthcare are imperative to the wellbeing of our children, seniors, working people and people with disabilities.

Our communities overlap in many ways. Our churches and synagogues are attended every week by workers who will lose their health insurance under the Senate bill. Children growing up in religious communities won’t have access to healthcare. Community elders will be forced to pay more and more for high quality coverage, even as they move towards retirement. As a result, faith and labor communities have a shared interest in maintaining quality healthcare for Coloradans statewide.

Rabbi Bernard R. Gerson

We are all created Btzelem Elohim—in the image of God. Health is not a luxury, and it should not be the sole possession of a privileged few. The health care crisis touches nearly every one of us. It is time for us to act.  Our faith values demand that we create a society in which no one is denied proper medical care.

African-American Congregants such as those who attend Shorter Community AME Church in Denver know all too well the pain of being unable to access quality healthcare. Black bodies have suffered for too long with chronic diseases and seriously limited access to treatment. The Bible is clear that this type of neglect is immoral and ungodly.

This is an issue that transcends partisan politics. The goal of both of our communities should be the same as that of every politician in Washington: to ensure affordable healthcare coverage for as many people as possible.

Ron Ruggiero
Ron Ruggiero

In Colorado, faith and labor communities have come together in the past to fight for immigrant justice, fair wages and healthcare, and our voices were heard. We must stand together and make sure our Senate Republicans understand the impact ripping away healthcare will have on hard-working Americans. Forcing the poor and elderly to pay more for less coverage just to give enormous tax breaks to the wealthiest is plain wrong.

The Senate healthcare repeal bill would leave 22 million Americans stranded without healthcare, and gut Medicaid funding by $772 billion over 10 years. The bill would also put at least one million Americans at risk for unemployment.

But it would also have devastating effects on Colorado locally. 600,000 people in our state could lose health insurance. The Colorado Health Institute projects that the Senate’s bill could cost Colorado’s economy $17 billion over the next 10 years.

The moral threads that hold our nation together are coming undone. It is time for Congress to reject its partisan tactics and work together to protect the people they represent. We want and expect a solution that protects Medicaid, lowers costs and improves care.

It’s time for Sen. Cory Gardner and all congressional Republicans to show their independence from this unfixable bill. It’s time they stand up for Medicaid and for improving care for all Americans. We have a moral obligation to protect seniors, children and people with disabilities, and those with pre-existing conditions. Repealing healthcare would cause costs to skyrocket for millions of Americans and would hurt us all.

Rev. Dr. Timothy E. Tyler

The Reverend Dr. Timothy E. Tyler is the Pastor of Shorter Community African Methodist Episcopal Church in Denver.

Ron Ruggiero

Ron Ruggiero is the president of SEIU 105.

Rabbi Bernard R. Gerson

Rabbi Bernard R. Gerson is spiritual leader of Congregation Rodef Shalom in Denver.