Another update on previous posts:
Dear CHILD Members and Friends,
I am sorry to report to you that the U.S. House passed HR1814 by voice vote a few hours ago; their votes will not be recorded. [The bill gives everyone with sincere religious beliefs against medical care an exemption from purchasing health insurance.
You can watch a recording of the floor discussion on your computer by going to http://www.c-span.org/video/?318172-3/us-house-legislative-business. It is House session Part II and the debate on HR1814 begins about one hour into proceedings.
Congressmen Henry Waxman, D-CA, and Sander Levin, D-MI, were excellent in their objections to the bill although they did not directly mention the risks to children. They pointed out that the IRS will have no way to enforce the sincere religious beliefs requirement for the exemption. They also pointed out that the religious objectors can get “involuntary medical care” at the taxpayers’ expense without forfeiting the exemption. So if an uninsured religious objector is in an accident and is given emergency medical care when he is unable to give consent, the entire cost of care will be assumed by the taxpayer.
Only today the Congressional Budget Office released a fiscal analysis indicating that the bill could increase the number of uninsured by 500,000 persons each year and cost $1.5 billion over ten years.
This bill should never have moved directly to the House floor with no public hearing, committee markup, or fiscal analysis.
The Christian Science church obviously knew the bill would come to the floor today under suspension of the rules at least a week ago because on March 4 they announced a “national call-in day” for believers to call members of Congress today. But we did not learn the bill was moving to the floor until yesterday morning.
Now we must contact our U.S. Senators and urge them to oppose HR1814 and the Senate version S.862, which has the same wording.
The Christian Science church has told its members that they want the bill to pass both chambers by March 31, the deadline for buying health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Observing the way the Senate usually functions, that sounds impossible, but the church is obviously going to try. It is therefore extremely important for us to contact our U.S. Senators as soon as possible. Already 31 of the 100 Senators have signed on as co-sponsors.
With gratitude for your values and your service on behalf of children,