I am writing to express my concern over the church’s support of the federal Affordable Care Act. While I believe initial intentions of the United Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran and Christian Church clergy were to support a mechanism that provides quality health care to the residents of Indiana, I believe the Affordable Care Act (Medicaid expansion in the State of Indiana) is not that mechanism.

I believe the Affordable Care Act will do the direct opposite of what you wish, and I believe that you are mistaken to believe otherwise. I hope and trust my State legislators and Governor that they also believe as I do. Federal money for Medicaid expansion is a baby “carrot,” future unfunded liability for that Medicaid expansion is not a just a “stick,” but a massive “limb.” It will cripple the state. Hence, the reason the state wishes to expand health care coverage through the Healthy Indiana Plan, a high deductible health savings account.

I am also distressed that my church’s higher clergy would support a Federal act, Affordable Care Act, that will impede my and the people’s free exercise of religion. Just why are you (the United Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran, and Christian Church) necessary?

The people can just depend on the federal Government for their needs. The government wants you to disappear. Hide it in good intentions-support for the poor and disadvantaged or supporting churches with your message regarding “2012 health care refunds” but you are changing the church’s role in America.

Nancy Whitaker
Member of Delphi UMC
Delphi, Ind.

Editor’s note: The United Methodist Church and other denominations in America support Medicaid expansion, because of their concern for the poor and disadvantaged lower-income residents of the country. The Affordable Care Act through Medicaid expansion provides a means to affordable health care to more than 400,000 Hoosiers who have NO health care insurance now or in the foreseeable future.

Yes, the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) is another alternative, however faith leaders and other charitable groups cannot get a clear answer from either the General Assembly or the Governor whether or not HIP will be able to care for such numbers.

The means to an affordable health care solution (either ACA or HIP) are secondary to the end that poor and lower-income Hoosiers receive affordable health care. There is nothing in ACA that will impede the free exercise of religious freedom. Such freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution.

Churches and other faith groups are giving support to this issue because the church is mandated to advocate for the poor and believe that it is the right of every citizen to have quality health care. Such action maintains the church’s role in America as a social advocate for those who have little money and little voice in our country. Such social advocacy has been a historical function of the church in American society since its beginning. – DRG