Grassroots Health Care Campaign Sends 20,000 Calls to Congress

A massive grassroots effort that included 20,000 calls being made to congress was made this week by people of faith as a part of the "40 Days for Health Reform" campaign, which hopes to ensure quality and affordable health care for every American family.

The nationwide call-in was enacted on Tuesday, with faith-based groups running television ads and using group e-mail and mobile phone text alerts to encourage their members to participate.

Religious group leaders put their faith into action the following day, making nearly 100 lobby visits to various members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as a part of the "Affordable Health Care is a Family Value" rally on Capitol Hill.

"We're here today to send a message that affordable health care is a family value," said Rev. Cory Sparks, a member of the People Improving Communities Through Organizing (PICO) National Network, on Wednesday. "We welcome the Senate Finance Committee moving forward as another step on the path to reform, but we are worried that the Senate Finance Mark is off-mark on affordability for families. We urge Members to make improvements that reduce premiums and lower out of pocket costs that families are expected to pay."
Partnering with PICO and other groups in the lobbying efforts was the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), who helped in drafting a statement calling for five specific health care affordability protections for families, including offering "adequate" benefit packages to workers, protecting lowest-income households from premiums, and exempting families without affordable coverage options from premiums among other stipulations.

Other organizations and denominations and faith groups that participated in the efforts included Faithful America, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Sojourners, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and several others.

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