SALT LAKE CITY — The Most Rev. Oscar A. Solis, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, joined close to 20 other faith leaders on Oct. 3 to ask Utahns to support Proposition 3 Utah Decides Healthcare Act.
On Nov. 6, Utahns will vote on whether to pass the proposition, which would expand Medicaid in Utah to as many as 150,000 residents who cannot afford or do not qualify for health care.
“As people of faith who believe that all life is sacred, we understand that, to live a life of dignity, people need certain basic requirements, which includes access to health care,” Bishop Solis said at the press conference.
“The generosity of Utahns is unquestionable, but charitable works often require government support to ensure no person who is experiencing poverty or has clear vulnerabilities falls through the cracks,” he said.
“This election season, we as citizens have the opportunity to ensure coverage for thousands more low-income, working Utahns,” he went on to say. “Every time we prevent a heart attack, catch and treat a cancer at its earliest stage, avoid a diabetic seizure or amputation, or put a child on a healthy path, we protect the dignity of life and reduce long-term health care costs.”
“Protecting the dignity and sanctity of life is our Christian calling,” he said. “In this spirit, we should support Proposition 3 in order to enhance and extend Medicaid to all those in need. This is our moral duty, to share God’s love and compassion for one another.”
Eight of the other religious leaders spoke briefly at the press conference held on the Cathedral of the Madeline’s plaza. They echoed Bishop Solis’ remarks.
“Poverty is the result of not valuing the dignity of each resident and committing within our state … to care for each other,” said Rev. Monica Hall of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Ogden. “We are asked to care for each other by the God we serve, and we can take action legislatively to live out the commandments to all of our faiths standing here today. … Care for the poor, care for God.”
“This vote is about living out a commandment,” she said.
Several of the speakers referred to Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew where he told his followers that as they served their fellow men, they also served him.
“For years we have struggled without access to health care. … People die not because we lack the resources, it’s because we lack the will,” said Christine Higueria-Street, pastor of St. Matthews Lutheran Church, Taylorsville.
Under Proposition 3, Medicaid would be expanded to individuals who earn less than $16,643 or households of four with $33,948 or less in earnings. The federal government would contribute 90 percent of the funds needed for Medicaid expansion. The remaining 10 percent would be collected by increasing sales tax 0.15 percent, from 4.70 to 4.85 percent.