Commission on Justice and Peace Document Archives

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

Aware of the current passionate debates concerning health care reform in the U.S.A., I write to you today to share some of our experiences and reflections in similar debates that have taken place, and continue to take place, in Canada.

While we have been following the American health care debate with interest, our hope is that our own work on the topic might be of some service to you. We have no wish to advocate specific positions on the various public policy options being proposed by politicians in your country. Canadians are aware that certain lobby groups and media outlets in the United States regularly use critical references to Canada’s health care system and interviews with Canadian citizens to support their arguments. We are also aware that a publicly administered, single-payer system such as we have in Canada has not been proposed by Washington law makers. By means of this letter and its

enclosures, we simply wish to inform you of our Christian reflection on health care in Canada, the implications of this reflection in our ministries, and the action we have taken to discern an appropriate role for Canadian Christians in terms of health care and health care advocacy.

Members of the Canadian Council of Churches have been involved in health care ministry since the earliest times, as you can read in the historical chapter (beginning on page 18) of our August 2007 publication, A Health Care Covenant. Before 1966, Canada had a health care system that failed to provide over 30% of the population with medical insurance. This created enormous human suffering and ethical problems for those who believed with Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:26, “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it…” With varying degrees of fervour, Canadian churches publicly began to advocate for the establishment of Medicare.

File Type: pdf
Categories: English, Healthcare
Tags: health covenant, health policy, healthcare, public health
Author: General Secretary of The Canadian Council of Churches (Karen Hamilton)