April 11, 2015 / 2013 / September / Why We Are Helping with Affordable Care ...

Why We Are Helping with Affordable Care Act Implementation

submitted September 05, 2013 by Matthew Ellis and Jayce Hafner   |   comments

Over the past few months, you have probably seen an increase in Affordable Care Act (ACA)-related information from both the media and NEHM. We thought it would be a good idea to take a step back and outline why this time is so important, what it means for you, and what you can expect in the coming months.

I hear a lot about the ACA but I am lost. Catch me up!

This is a great video from the Kaiser Family Foundation that explains how the ACA will work:

Ok, I know my situation. Why do I need to know more?

Many people that we come into contact with in our ministries are in vulnerable and uninsured or underinsured populations. In the United States, people must have adequate health insurance before they can fully access the health care system. Working within this structure to provide as many as possible access to health care is critical. Which leads us to...

The Mission of NEHM and the Episcopal Church

Increasing access to health care is critical for promoting health and healing in our communities. The implementation of the ACA is the primary mechanism that will provide access to health care for those in the United States. 

NEHM's mission is to promote health ministry in Episcopal congregations, assisting them to reclaim the Gospel imperative of health and wholeness.

The mission of The Episcopal Church is expressed in the Five Marks of Mission:

  • To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
  • To teach, baptize and nurture new believers
  • To respond to human need by loving service
  • To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
  • To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

It is consistent with our mission statements to help as many people as possible be able to access the health care system when needed. We should strive to be sure those who need help getting insured know how to get that assistance.

How can I help? 

  1. Engage in personal education: You have already started by watching the video above and reading this blog post. You can find more resources about the ACA here
  2. Create public awareness: Talk to your friends and neighbors. If your church has an outreach ministry, share education materials with clients and volunteers.
  3. Present or publicize forums and webinars with knowledgeable presenters. One way to do this is to invite a local expert on ACA to speak at a rector's forum or adult education hour at your parish.
  4. Assist vulnerable populations with access to healthcare.gov or the marketplace and help them with registration. If you have an outreach ministry, make sure that you have materials about ACA implementation available for your clients. 
  5. Know about subsidies and how to qualify. There are programs to make healthcare affordable; be sure to learn more about them!

What if I do not like the ACA?

The Episcopal Church has asserted that all people should have access to medically necessary health care and called on our leaders to “devise a system of universal access for the people of our country.” This isn’t about partisan politics. This is about getting the uninsured enrolled – let’s focus on that.

What if I love the ACA?

We live in a democracy where we won’t always agree with our neighbors, and we all have the right to express our opinions. Right now, though,  it’s time to focus on action - on getting the uninsured enrolled. Don’t be distracted by arguments with those that might disagree - just keep moving forward with this important work.

I am interested in learning a lot more. Where should I start?

Matthew Ellis is the CEO of National Episcopal Health Ministries. Jayce Hafner is the Domestic Policy Analyst for The Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations


Coming soon: How NEHM is participating in ACA implementation.