July 7th, 2012 – Today the Presbyterian Church (USA) took a step toward divestment from for-profit health insurance companies in the US by instructing the appropriate committee of the General Assembly to begin a process of information gathering. The Mission Through Responsible Investing Committee (MRTI) is instructed by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to request information and explanations of health insurance companies.

This information will focus especially on the insurers’ practices in regard to state and federal lobbying expenditures and political campaign contributions, government subsidies and profit margins, denials of claims, and top executives’ compensation packages. Other directives include a conversation with the Board of Pensions, the overseeing body that works with the health care provider, to ensure that the church’s health plan submits to the same standards that it asks of other insurers. Based on its analysis MRTI will evaluate the variance between church principles of universal access and affordability on the one hand and corporate objectives on the other. It will also assess the likelihood of significant change in corporate behavior.

In addition, the committee is to recommend measures to the appropriate Council of the church, including possible divestment from the health insurance companies, measures that will strengthen the integrity of the church’s practice. The relevant committees and councils are requested to report on their action to the General Assemblies of 2014 and 2016, with an eye to guiding individual Presbyterians, congregations and mid-councils, in relation to their own investment holdings in this major part of the economy.

Finally, all official bodies are encouraged to continue to support cost-effective health coverage for all through the single payer (or expanded Medicare) model common elsewhere in the developed world, and to support making health care affordable and transparent.

The overture for this step originated with the Mid-Kentucky Presbytery, was joined by the Presbyteries of Albany, New York City, Long Island and West Jersey, and was approved overwhelmingly by the Committee on Health Issues of the General Assembly on July 3, 2012.

More information here.

7 Comments

  1. Adele E Zimmermann on July 11, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Bravo!

    What a refreshing change from that of other prominent religious institutions that seek to limit health care coverage for its employees, and for certain groups nation and world wide.



  2. James Miller on July 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    I think this is wonderful news! Are any other faith communities taking similar steps? There are many compassionate congregations I can think of who might be amenable to improving human rights in regard to healthcare access and affordability in the U.S.



  3. Paulina Conn on July 11, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    The process is excellent. Thank you. But why take until 2014 or 2016 just for a recommendation? Six months is more than enough time. People are suffering and going bankrupt in part due to medical bills even with insurance. Let us hope that the result is divestiture and not equivocating. All studies show that a single-payer improved Medicare for All system without private health insurance is sustainable, fair, and can save thousands of lives as well. Private health insurance, which has inequality, pain and suffering for patients and providers built into it, is certainly a morally questionable way for any religious institution to earn money. It is lucrative but morally bankrupt.



    • Lesa on July 12, 2012 at 4:00 pm

      Having been permanently disabled working ata a privately insured hospital since 199i have endured years of accusations of being
      “Exaggerating my pain, a drug seeker, hysterical, ” you name it
      They didn’t give me the legally required timely and appropriate medical care.
      I walked around and even worked with horrible head and neck pain. After findind a new job



  4. Lesa on July 12, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    ‘That The insurance adjuster had vetoed all attempts by my Doctors. Orders to? Provide. timely. Necessary care . The case started in 1997 and settles for peanuts 2011
    Regulattion of privately insured companys covering their employees work. Comp. Injuries must. Be stopped, preventing years of pain and a new group of people who need services



  5. annette howell on July 22, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Although I completely understand and admit I have not taken the time to study the details of this complex health care issue, one of my concerns with the “single payer” concept is how will we ( our government) as a nation, whose economy is already in such poor shape, be able to afford this? Plus, as a wife of a husband with a small business he has worked his tail off for many years to build into a successful business, providing health care to every one of his employees will create a severe economic hardship for us.This of course refers to all businesses, not just ours or small businesses. I know we all agree we don’t want folks to suffer who owe tremendous health care bills, and cannot afford health insurance, but the fact remains our nation, given the debt and some of the other enormous issues we are facing, just can’t rescue everyone at others expense who have worked extremely hard for one thing to build their businesses into what they are today. I am a democrat who believes in social justice, but having a healthy balance is important too. I am going to do my best to take the time to study this issue more as it is becoming increasingly apparent that we all need to become more educated, especially myself!



  6. Anna YaLee on August 17, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    I really like this website. I understand insurance here in America is going up with new changes. In my country insurance is different, not like here in America. I thank you for the information. Here it was easy for me to understand.

    Thank You,