Faith communities around the nation have launched a nationwide campaign in celebration and honor of the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the landmark health reform law that makes health insurance more accessible to U.S. residents.
The Bring Health Reform Home campaign was launched on Monday by the PICO National Network who hosted a national media call led by clergy and people of faith.
"This law stretches beyond the politics of the day. It factors in a preeminent human need that we have to help one another live, survive and make it through," said the Rev. Heyward Wiggins, senior pastor of Bible Tabernacle Church in Camden, NJ.
On Tuesday, Wiggins will be leading a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of a new nurse practitioner clinic in one of the most medically needy areas of Camden as a result of the ACA.
"One year in the new health care law is beginning to take root in our community," he said.
The Camden ceremony is one of nine public events that will be held around the nation as a part of the Bring Health Reform Home campaign.
Other cities hosting events, which will be mostly press and educational events, include Brooklyn, New York; Contra Costa, Calif.; San Diego, Calif.; Denver, Co.; Kansas City, Mi; Orlando, Fla.; and Montpelier, Vermont.
"We are going to celebrate the Affordable Care Act, but we are also calling on the support of everyone to make sure that health care reform continues on its path to alleviate suffering and provide health care to all," said Hlida Fuentes, CEO of Samuel U Rodgers Health Center in Kansas City.
Meanwhile, PICO and Faithful America have also launched radio ads in four key media markets sharing stories of church members who will be able to provide for their families and secure affordable health care insurance because of the ACA.
Each ad spot features a local community leader telling their own story and urging politicians not to take away the critical benefits in the ACA.
In an ad running in Kansas City, Niki Williams tells how she was diagnosed with cancer after losing her health insurance following her husband's layoff.
"I was terrified. We prayed constantly, but the fear was overwhelming," she said. "Given the outrageous rates from insurance companies, my family couldn't afford coverage for the treatment I needed."
Williams goes on saying that thanks to the ACA, her family won't face financial ruin because of her condition and any future health crises her family might face.
"And as a Christian, I don't want my neighbors to suffer as we did," she says. "Politicians in Washington want to take away the health care law and put the big insurance companies back in charge. We can't let this happen. It'd be morally wrong to allow out-of-touch politicians help insurance companies get richer while leaving families like mine out in the cold."
The Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010 in spite of adamant opposition from Republican lawmakers, who didn't offer a single vote in favor of the bill.
Since the enactment, calls for repeal and defunding of the law have been a central focus of the GOP, who have attacked the ACA with claims that the law will increase the federal deficit by $700 billion in its first decade and destroy over 650,000 jobs.
The American public, meanwhile, remains divided on whether the passage of the ACA has or will benefit the country. A Gallup Poll released yesterday showed that 46 percent of Americans think favorably of the law while 44 percent do not.