Faith leaders join forces to increase health care coverage enrollment among African-Americans.
A group of prominent African-American pastors and faith leaders in a letter to President Obama have pledged to build support for the Affordable Care Act in Black communities and help facilitate enrollment. Approximately seven million uninsured African-Americans stand to benefit from the law.
In addition to preaching the gospel of Obamacare, participating congregations around the country will hold "Health and Wellness Sundays" that focus on the benefits of the law and signing up for coverage and other related activities.
Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr., chair of Faith Partnerships, Inc., and Rev. Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, co-chair of the National African-American Clergy Network, are spearheading the effort. Faith-based organizations that have signed on include the National Action Network, the National Baptist Convention, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and others.
In an interview with BET.com, Moss recalled the critical role that government has played in increasing access to health care.
"Those of my generation have parents and grandparents who remember the enactment of Social Security and what it meant to individuals, families and our nation," he said. "In addition, we remember the enactment of Medicare under President Johnson and how that has enhanced health care in our community."
Now they are committed to helping Obama, who succeeded where others have failed and passed universal health care legislation "do everything possible to implement" it. Particular attention will be given to young adults whose enrollment is key to the affordable part of the law.
But, more important, Moss said, is that getting coverage from the start will help them develop the life-saving habit of getting regular checkups and preventative care that could make an enormous difference in reducing the health disparities that currently plague African-American communities.
"It will be a lifetime investment that will pay off for generations," Moss said.
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(Photo: REUTERS/Joe Skipper)