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Jewish world reacts to Supreme Court ruling upholding Affordable Care Act
by By Staff and releases
Jun 28, 2012 | 4000 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jewish agencies lost no time in responding to Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding most of the Affordable Care Act, including the controversial heart of the provision — the individual mandate.

The Rabbinical Assembly, the umbrella arm, of the Conservative rabbinate, touted the 5-4 ruling.

“As an international community of 1,600 Conservative rabbis, the Rabbinical Assembly has been continuously supportive of universal health care,” said the R.A. statement signed by Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, its executive vice president, and Rabbi Gerry Skolnik, its president. “The 16th-century compilation of Jewish law, the Shulhan Arukh, states that where doctors reducing fees to care for the poor is not sufficient, the community must provide a fund. Consistent with this and many other related dicta in Jewish tradition, the Rabbinical Assembly passed resolutions on health care in 2002, 2008 and 2011, in support of the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

“All people deserve access to affordable and equitable healthcare coverage, and we join other people of faith in their staunch desire for a U.S health care system that offers health, wholeness and human dignity for all,” the statement continued. “Today’s decision brings us significantly forward on that moral path, and the members of the Rabbinical Assembly will continue to promote a system of health care that is inclusive, affordable, accessible and accountable.”

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs also lauded the ruling.

"As we study today’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, we are struck by the seriousness and thoughtfulness of the Court’s process and deliberations,” the JCPA statement said. “The rule of law is central to the American legal system, the protection of civil and human rights, and the viability of democracy. The ACA is the law of the land and universal, affordable, and accessible healthcare coverage for all Americans remains a compelling policy goal and moral imperative.

“Over the next few months, as the court’s decision is parsed and the ACA is implemented, we will work with Congress and the administration continually to improve our healthcare system and governance,” the statement continued. “We are particularly focused on the implications for Medicaid, a vital program that ensures healthcare for the most vulnerable among us.”

Hadassah National President Marcie Natan also welcomed the ruling.

“Hadassah proudly signed an amicus curiae brief in this case supporting the Affordable Care Act,” Natan said in her prepared statement.
” Central to Hadassah’s mission is the commitment to enhance the health of people worldwide through the organization’s support of medical care and research at the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem. “Hadassah is devoted to strengthening the healthcare system in the United States and has a long history of advocating for comprehensive healthcare reform,” she continued. “As a fervent supporter of economic security for women and families, Hadassah recognizes that lack of coverage compromises the health and economic well-being of millions of uninsured individuals, as well as our nation as a whole.”

National Jewish Democratic Council Chair Marc R. Stanley and President and CEO David A. Harris said they were “gratified” that the high court “confirmed today what liberal and conservative legal scholars have said all along — that the individual mandate to purchase health insurance is constitutional and well within Congress' jurisdiction to regulate. Now is the time for conservative critics of the president — especially the godfather of core components of the bill, Mitt Romney — to accept Obamacare and its provisions as the constitutional law of the land.

But the issue is far from resolved.

In his statement on the ruling, Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "The Supreme Court has rendered judgment on the constitutionality of Obamacare. It remains up to Congress and the American people to judge whether it is good policy. The serious negative effects this law will have on the economy, on jobs, on medical research and development, and on the quality of health care in America, are very troubling. The American people will have the opportunity to express their opinion on the wisdom of Obamacare in this election year."

At the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Rabbi David Saperstein, its director, called the ruling “a victory for those whose believe, as we do, that health care is a fundamental right, and, especially given the lead opinion by Chief Justice Roberts, a victory for the court itself.

“The ACA now still has the chance to help the nearly 40 million currently uninsured Americans receive coverage and the millions of underinsured see their situation improved,” Saperstein added in his prepared statement.

And Nancy K. Kaufman, CEO of the National Council for Jewish Women, said of the ruling, “The Affordable Care Act means that no family will suffer bankruptcy due to high medical bills, and that all families will have access to routine, chronic, and emergency health care. Perhaps most important, it means that no one will die for lack of health insurance, as did an estimated 40,000 people every year prior to ACA’s enactment.”

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