Access to affordable health care has proven to be a difficult issue for the people of South Dakota. Our study topic for 2014 focused on this question: To what extent does the government have a responsibility to make sure everyone has healthcare?
Over the course of the year we heard from health care experts and studied current federal legislation. We reflected on the moral and religious implications of the issue, asking ourselves, What is the meaning of “caring for one’s neighbor” within the realities of a democratic, free-market society?
After exploring our traditions’ sacred texts as well as many aspects of the current health care situation in our state, we found that we all could agree on this moral statement:
Citizens of a just and fair society should work together to make basic health care affordable and available for all citizens, including those who are unable to pay for it themselves.
See the full context of our statement: Addressing the issue of Health Care Access for all South Dakotans.
This statement was distributed to 24,000 South Dakotans as an insert in the Argus Leader newspaper on Nov. 11, 2014. It was sent to the governor of South Dakota and all state senators and representatives, urging elected officials to make it their highest priority to find a way to make healthcare available to every South Dakotan.
SOUTH DAKOTA FAITH IN PUBLIC LIFE hosted a legislative breakfast for legislators in the Sioux Falls area on Dec. 9, 2014, offering opportunity for vigorous discussion of religious and political perspectives related to health care access.