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Health Care Reform 1999  
Policies Headlines
Jun 1, 1999 -- Health Care Reform

The RCA welcomes meaningful health care reform that expands the availability of quality health care. Health care is an issue that affects the lives of every citizen of this nation. Judaism teaches us to the infinite value of each human life and of our obligation to preserve life. However, we must be concerned that in the quest to restrain costs, new health care initiatives may not give due consideration to the sanctity of human life and to ethical and religious imperatives that seek to protect such sanctity.

Specifically, these imperatives must be applied to any guidelines formulated with regard to rationing scarce medical resources. Similarly, physicians must be permitted sufficient flexibility in selecting the form of a patient's treatment in order to provide them with the optimum capability for preserving life. Cost and expediency (resulting in, for example, age as the basis in determining eligibility for treatment) are not sufficient criteria for establishing medical guidelines or decision. The RCA advocated health care reform that includes policies relating to allocation and selection of medical treatments, procedures, resources and facilities which have the ability to take into account ethical and religious imperatives and reflect sensitivity to patient's ethical and religious beliefs.

We therefore resolve that:

Legislation relating to health care reform should incorporate the following principles:

Access to universal coverage with realistic fiscal controls and tax policies;

Promotion of quality and innovative medical and health research;

Merit as tile criteria in the selection and training of medical personnel without government structures or quotas in particular medical fields;

Provision for long-term care for the elderly, coverage of catastrophic illness and infertility treatment as well as mental health problems;

Choice in the selection of physicians and other certified health care providers:

Sensitivity to ethical and religious imperatives in the formulation of any guidelines related to allocation and selection of medical treatments, procedures and resources;

Sensitivity to patient's religious beliefs in determining the appropriateness of form of medical treatment.

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