A Word from Bishop Graves: Health Care for All People!

June 23, 2017

As we prepare for the July 4th remembrance holiday, there is a great debate going on in our country around health care. It seems that we have been in a standoff around this issue for many years. In my opinion, the spiral began when mental health care was drastically cut years ago. We have paid the price for this in many ways.

Some have benefitted from the present plan while soaring costs and insurance companies dropping out of exchanges are causing a lot of present issues for others. The newly proposed health care plan seems to lessen benefits to the poor and the aging. Yet, to be honest with you, due to the complexity of the bill, it’s difficult to evaluate exactly what is being proposed. It is so complicated, I wonder if our congressional leaders understand either.

What I do know is that Jesus tells us in Matthew 25 that we should provide health care to all people. Jesus is not so specific to use the phrase, "health care," but says when you provide needs to the least of these, you have given unto me. This is enough for me. Furthermore, as United Methodists, we believe and advocate health care for all people. The United Methodist Board of Church and Society is presently working on this behalf and our Social Principles proclaim this right.

Therefore, the people called United Methodists of the Alabama-West Florida Conference, will you join me in praying that we can get to a better place with health care for all people? Pray for our leaders who will vote on a health care bill sometime after the July 4th break. Pray that both Republicans and Democrats can work together to do what is right in providing affordable health care for all people.

It is time to get beyond a partisan health care bill; we need a health care bill for all people. Again, I ask you to join me in your prayers and circles of influence to this end. Take a moment in your worship services this weekend to pray for our country, our leaders, and the upcoming health care legislation. I am praying that the best is yet to come around health care for all people! Let us not look back with regret because we felt this was too hard. It is hard, but by faith, it can happen. 

In Christ,
Bishop David Graves
Resident Bishop, Alabama-West Florida Conference