OTOC Faith Leaders joined with Nebraska Appleseed to hold a press conference on March 17, 2015 at the Rotunda of the Capitol to present the names of 175 clergy, women religious and faith leaders who are asking the Unicameral to pass LB 472—Medicaid Redesign.
The Faith Leaders then took the letter to the offices of all 49 Senators and spoke with each Senator or their staff.
What you can do
Will you ask pastors, women religious and faith leaders from across Nebraska to consider signing the letter if they have not yet done so? Click on the link below to see the 175 who have already signed on:
A link to the Faith Leaders letter is available in the upper right corner of the OTOC website home page. Faith Leaders are still encouraged to sign on this letter.
What OTOC Leaders said
Rev. Keith Nelson, retired Lutheran pastor and member of Augustana Lutheran kicked of the press conference at the Capitol saying:
“All faithful people must look and actually see the suffering around them, no matter how unpleasant or complicated the situation appears to be,” Rev. Nelson said. “We can’t avert our eyes and pretend it is not there. We need to take some concrete action to help address the suffering that we see.”
Rev. Vickie Parker, Pastor at Bethel AME Church in Omaha experienced the coverage gap for 18 months when she first moved to Omaha to become a full time pastor. She related how three of her kids qualified for Medicaid, but she and her oldest son had no coverage for 18 months.
“Sunday after Sunday, as I stood before my congregation, unbeknownst to them, I was praying neither I or my son would get sick or require immediate medical attention,” Parker said.
Sr. Kathleen Erickson, RSM reminded the assembled press that “We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, wherever they may be,” Sister Erickson said. “This consistent ethic of life means that the Catholic Church has long taught that access to health care is fundamental to maintaining human dignity. Lack of access to health care is morally wrong, and must be addressed wherever possible.” Sr. Kathleen expressed pride that over 70 Catholic priests and women religious have already signed the letter in support of Medicaid Redesign.
Omaha World-Herald: Faith leaders call on Nebraska legislators to pass Medicaid expansion
Neb Radio Network: Religious leaders urge lawmakers to expand Medicaid (AUDIO)
Associated Press: Faith groups urge lawmakers to pass Nebraska Medicaid bill
Listen to the statements of OTOC leaders who spoke at the press conference
Reverend Nelson https://vimeo.com/122469118
Reverend Parker https://vimeo.com/122470015
Sister Erickson https://vimeo.com/122474295
Mark Hoeger https://vimeo.com/122475152