“We of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have an enduring commitment to work for and support health care for all people as a shared endeavor. Our commitment comes in grateful response to God’s saving love in Jesus Christ that frees us to love and seek the well-being of our neighbor.” ELCA Social Statement, Caring for Health: Our Shared Endeavor, 2003
LAMPa’s health care advocacy focuses on access to high-quality, affordable health care for people with low or moderate income. In concert with partners in Pennsylvania and in our D.C. Advocacy Office, LAMPa will continue to: press for more transparent affordable coverage (advocating for limiting short-term limited duration healthcare plans); continue to advocate for legislation eliminating “surprise” medical bills; advocate for affordable prescription drugs; and seek public funding to assist with the 2020 Census ensuring all will be counted, thus affecting federal and state assistance funds related to health care.
Mental Health Treatment
LAMPa will work for greater funding for effective mental health treatment, beginning with trauma-responsive education in schools and trauma-responsive court systems that begin to unwind the unjust, costly, ineffective and frequently racially- biased practices that promote mass incarceration.
This work will also continue the momentum to address the opioid epidemic and seek to broaden the understanding of policymakers to attach underlying causes, such as poverty and hopelessness. LAMPa, along with partners, will continue to explore avenues to improve mental health treatment options especially for rural Pennsylvanians who are found to be in a higher risk category for firearm suicide.
HB 1862 – Surprise Balance Billing Protection Act
A bill has been proposed by leadership from both parties in Harrisburg that would protect Pennsylvanians against surprise medical bills. This bill has strong bipartisan support. If passed, HB 1862, the Surprise Balance Billing Protection Act, would be one of the strongest protections in the nation against these unfair bills. Surprise medical billing is a practice that occurs when patients are billed for the balance of the cost of care that wasn’t covered by their insurance. Most of the time, patients are not aware that they received care that wasn’t covered by their insurance policy.
This bill represents robust protection for consumers against surprise balance billing. In all situations where consumers encounter hidden or invisible providers or intended to seek in-network care, consumers will not receive a bill, and a fair and equitable process is established for paying providers an in-network rate while ensuring that that rate is calculated accurately by insurance companies. Both providers and insurance companies have stated that their end goal is to keep consumers out of the middle, and this bill does just that.