WASHINGTON (April 26, 2006)—For the 4th year in a row, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will participate with ecumenical and interfaith partners in Cover the Uninsured Week, a national campaign to spotlight the nearly 46 million Americans who lack health insurance.
"A problem of this magnitude and moral urgency requires the leadership of the Catholic community as we work to address this crisis with compassion and a commitment to justice," said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Chairman, USCCB Domestic Policy Committee, and Sister Carol Keehan, DC, President and CEO of the Catholic Health Association of the United States.
Cover the Uninsured Week 2006 is set for May 1 to May 7.
Now in its fourth year, Cover the Uninsured Week is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and 18 partner groups ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the AFL-CIO. Hundreds of additional organizations will lend their support locally and nationally. Through activities in communities nationwide, religious leaders, physicians, business owners, educators, union members and others are banding together to send a unified message: we cannot afford to remain silent while quality affordable health care is not a reality for everyone in the country.
In a letter to all Catholic Bishops in the country, Bishop DiMarzio and Sister Keehan wrote: "The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) are leaders in this effort because of our longstanding commitment to accessible and affordable health care for all and our desire to show solidarity with our ecumenical and interfaith partners. We ask you to join us in this initiative. By adding your diocese, parish or organization's name to this list of participants, you join more than 600 Catholic hospitals, other major health care organizations, business and labor groups, and faith communities that support this important effort."
The letter noted that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has developed a variety of materials for the Week's activities. These resources are available at www.covertheuninsuredweek.org. Additional resources can be found on both the CHA website, www.chausa.org and the USCCB website, www.usccb.org/sdwp.
Among the materials that can be found at the USCCB website are liturgy resources developed by USCCB's Liturgy Secretariat for use at events before and during the Week, with homily helps that correspond to the Sunday readings before and after the week; and a statement entitled "A Call to Care," in which representatives of the faith communities and organizations sponsoring Cover the Uninsured Week 2006 explain the religious imperative behind the effort.