Comprehensive Digest of Social Witness at the 220th PC(USA) General Assembly


Health Issues

Item 21-01: On Instructing MRTI to Study and Report Corporate Practices of Health Insurance Companies and Possible Divestment

The Assembly approved an alternate resolution. This overture recommended Mission Responsibility Through Investment investigate the corporate practices of the health insurance companies Cigna, Aetna, Humana, WellPoint, and United Health Care. The alternate resolution, approved by the Assembly, simply adds more specificity to the MRTI process and outcomes, while removing the names of the five companies identified in the original overture. The resolution specifies the information sought: state and federal lobbying expenditures and political/campaign contributions; government subsidies and profit margins related to provisions of the healthcare reform legislation; aggregate data on increases in premiums and deductibles over the past ten years; categories and percentages of claims denied; and percentages of profits used in compensation to top executives in comparison with return to shareholders.” The alternate resolution still names divestment as a possible outcome. It also names continued support for cost-effective health coverage for all through the single payer (or expanded Medicare) model.

Item 21-02: On Instructing the General Assembly to Take Action to Implement the PC(USA)’s Policy on Inclusion of People with Disabilities

Approved with amendment by the Assembly. This item called for the full implementation of Living into the Body of Christ: Towards Full Inclusion of People with Disabilities, approved by the 217th General Assembly in 2006. This item affirmed that persons with disabilities are effectively distinct cultures within the rich multicultural makeup of the church; proposed the creation of a working group to develop a plan for training all staff and commissioners in disability awareness and inclusion; directed the Presbyterian Mission Agency to fund the disability consultants; instructed Presbyterians to use “people first” language; and instructed the church to include people with disabilities in planning events and committee meetings, and to include people with disabilities in the church-wide worship leadership. The amendment eliminated the instruction to fund the disability consultants, and instead, identified designated funding for the working group to be used as they see fit.

Item 21-04: Commissioners’ Resolution on Compassionate Treatment of Veterans Suffering from PTSD, TBI, and/or Other Mental Afflictions Rising from Military Service

Approved with amendment by the Assembly. This resolution urges presbyteries to offer training to ministries and churches to recognize and intervene pastorally in instances of veteran military-related Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) / Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). It also urges that this support be provided additionally to family members. It then asks the PC(USA) to advocate for rights for veterans along the categories of judicial/legal structures, psychiatric/mental health structures, and retraining/employment transitional structures.

Item 21-05: Commissioners’ Resolution on Funding for Presbyterian AIDS Network for AIDS Competency

Approved with amendment by the Assembly. This resolution commended both Johnson C. Smith Seminary for its prophetic witness in creating the “Certification of AIDS Competent Church and Church Leaders” program, and the Presbyterian AIDS Network. The original resolution called for $25,000 to support the development and expansion of the certification program. The amendment eliminated that allocation of funds and replaced it with the creation of an Extra Commitment Opportunity. The certification program builds on the 2010 report, “Becoming an HIV and AIDS Competent Church.”

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