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  • Rev. Sara Lilja

Jesus' health concerns...

Are people of faith today as concerned about the physical health of God’s people as Jesus’ concern in the upcoming text? Matthew 14 recounts Jesus feeding the multitude, providing for the physical need of food for all that were hungry. Again and again Jesus cares for the health of those in need.

As we have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic that improving access to health care helps to improve public health for all New Jerseyans. By getting more people covered and giving them greater access to quality care, we can improve the health and well-being of all of God’s people.

Currently the New Jersey legislature is debating legislation that will bring in more than $300. Million to support health care in New Jersey. This bill S2676/A4389 requires funds to be used to increase affordability, reduce racial disparities, and decrease the number of uninsured in our new in our new State Health Exchange that opens in November.


The Rev. Alyce McKenzie professor of Worship at Perkins School of theology wrote in Patheos in July 2011, “This story motivates us to get up out of our comfortable chairs and throw ourselves into offering our resources on behalf of a needy world. It calls us to remember and to anticipate. We are to stand in the story, looking back and looking forward…We are to stand, looking back, re-experiencing who God has been in the past. We are to stand looking ahead with faith in who God will be and what God will do in the future. This is the dynamic of anamnesis (active remembering) that undergirds participation in both the Passover and the Lord's Supper.”

Active remembering is participatory. An activity that is both remembering where we have been in the midst of this health crisis, and engaging in future measures to care for those who are most vulnerable. During this pandemic, we have stood in the shoes of the disciples: surrounded by human need, faced with huge challenges, and felt over whelmed. God has been with us, and promises to be with us still.

With your advocacy efforts, we can address our neighbor’s need of affordable health care. This legislation S2676/A4389 would allow New Jersey to implement our own Health Insurance Assessment (HIA). The Health Insurance Assessment (HIA) is a federal fee on health insurance companies that was established in 2014 to help fund the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This fee is set to expire on January 1, 2021, giving states the opportunity to take on the assessment, and in so doing capture the funding without raising insurers’ payments. States that implement their own HIA have the ability to spend the funds however they see fit, providing them the flexibility necessary to meet their own unique health care needs. Governor Phil Murphy first proposed the HIA for New Jersey in his Fiscal Year 2021 Budget.

Are we motivated to share our voices as we stand in the shoes of the skeptical disciples on the brink of a miracle? Follow this link, advocate for NJ’s Health Insurance Assessment so that we improve public health and ensure all residents can lead healthy lives. Follow this link to take action today! https://p2a.co/yXeF5Lv

Want to learn more about NJ’s Health Insurance Assessment? Follow this link… https://www.njpp.org/blog/new-jersey-can-act-now-to-make-health-care-more-affordable-the-health-insurance-assessment-explained

For the complete article, “You Want Us to Do What?” By Dr. McKenzie follow this link… https://www.patheos.com/resources/additional-resources/2011/07/you-want-us-to-do-what-alyce-mckenzie-07-25-2011

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