Father Thelen is pastor of St. John Catholic Church in Omaha. Rev. Florence is pastor of First United Methodist Church in Omaha. Rev. Lux is pastor of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Lincoln.
As clergy and leaders within our faith traditions, we believe every person is created to live with dignity and wholeness. In today's world, this requires access to health care. Providing universal health care access is a moral and spiritual imperative.
Our nation's health care system is in crisis. We see the impact this broken system has on the individuals and families of our faith communities every day, like the mother and father whose two daughters both have multiple sclerosis.
However, now the daughters are too old to be on their parents' health insurance, making coverage very difficult if not impossible due to restrictions on pre-existing conditions.
These struggles we witness each day are real to us and motivate us to stand together to support making good-quality health care a reality for all people.
The suffering that results from inadequate health care permeates all aspects of life for many members of our communities. An illness or injury can often spell financial ruin even for members of Nebraska's middle class. If Nebraskans do not have reliable, affordable access to an effective health care system, the stability of our communities is at stake.
As Nebraska faith leaders, we call for systemic change that is guided by the following principles based on our religious values. We support universal access to good-quality health care that: (1) Provides comprehensive and affordable coverage for all. (2) Eliminates health care disparities. (3) Includes effective cost containment. (4) Simplifies administration. (5) Eliminates pre-existing condition exclusions from coverage.
We turn to U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, knowing he stands with us as a person of faith. As governor, he left a lasting and important legacy of strong public insurance programs such as Kids Connection and CHIP, which provides insurance to thousands of Nebraskans who would otherwise join the uninsured.
Now we turn to him again to leave another legacy: health care for all Nebraskans. If we can fix the broken health care system, we can ensure that Nelson's legacy in Nebraska is continued with his vote this year to pass health reform.
We thank Sen. Nelson for continuing to make health care a priority for all Nebraskans and for leaving a legacy of healthy Nebraskans.