Health Care Reform and Muslims

June 6, 2007 § Leave a comment

I am from New York, but I remember hearing about the Umma Community Clinic of Southern California in a lecture Imam Zaid Shakir gave called, Stand Up for Truth. As it turns out the ‘Umma Free Clinic’ as it is often called is a health-care facility for uninsured individuals to receive health-care regardless of their ability to pay. This is truly a wonderful thing to me because I work in health-care and when ever I see a health-care organization providing quality health-care service that actually benefits the community of citizens more than it benefits executives, boards and committees I am impressed.In this case we have an organization that is very unique, for one it is an Islamic health-care facility. Which provides services that reflect ‘Islamic values and moral principles’.

Those at UMMA seeks to become part of a larger network of institutions which serve the underserved. The idea of a free clinic is a refreshing notion in light of the recent CNN sponsored presidential debates where health-care was nearly an untouched item with the Democrats and Republicans continued to tell us what we want to hear with a smile and one hand behind their back, perhaps to conceal their crossed fingers.

Now those at UMMA are getting involved in the debate. In 2005, nearly 50 million people (15% of the population) were living without health-care insurance, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. UMMA’s CEO and President Yasser Aman said,

“It’s a startling statistic,”

He continues,

“A lot of people think being uninsured is a poor person’s problem, but 14 percent of those uninsured are people from middle-income families, and 17 percent are working full time,” (R. Eshmawi, Infocus)

Its a huge problem that is being addressed here in New York City, however we are far from a solving this problem for those middle-income families that seem to be caught between ‘a rock and a hard place’. Some propose technology as a means to reduce cost for the facility allowing the cost of health-care itself to drop. However, realistically this could take a decade or more of implementation before real results materialize.

But if there is nothing else to be said on this issue one thing is for certain. I agree with Aman, CEO of UMMA who feels that it is incumbent upon Muslims in America to take interest in this issue. He stresses that, “we have something to offer in terms of a deep moral system that values a system that actually ensures people’s equity in terms of health care, economic justice, and the well-being of the family and society.”

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