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Kinnamon and Aykazian urge Obama
to make health care coverage a priority

New York,
November 7, 2008 -- The leaders of the National Council of Churches have urged President-Elect Barack Obama to make health care coverage "a first priority" of his administration.

Pointing out that more than 47 million Americans lack health care coverage, NCC President Archbishop Vicken Aykazian and General Secretary Dr. Michael Kinnamon noted that with the economic downturn, "millions more are finding increases in medical co-payments and participation requirements unmanageable or are losing health benefits with the loss of employment."

In a letter to Obama sent today, the two leaders expressed the hope "that the bright promise of your commitment to quality health care for all Americans might be fulfilled."

"Our own long history of health care advocacy and the experiences of tens of thousands of our congregations in providing health education and direct service programs tell us that a piecemeal system cannot meet the needs of our neighbors," the leaders wrote. "We urge you to begin as soon as possible to provide leadership to the national debate which must surely follow, so that a universal, just and sustainable approach to health care may become a hallmark of our democracy.  We pledge our own best efforts to engage in such a debate and to educate and motivate our more than 45 million constituent members to make their views and voices heard as we, together, forge a program of health care which leaves no person on the margins of our society. As you know, bold and decisive presidential leadership is indispensable to success in this crucial matter." 

The full text of the letter to Obama is here.

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228,

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