Ministers voice support for health care reform

By Ben Watson - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - At a Memphis Baptist Ministerial Association meeting, hundreds of ministers announced plans to counter the negative protests some Tea Party members have staged in opposition to the new health care reform bill.

"The tea party has a right to protest," the Rev. Dwight Montgomery said. "We have a right to stand in support of this effort."

The Rev. Carl Greer said many members of his church need health care reform, because they simply cannot afford to pay for doctors visits.

"We pastor people that don't have doctors," Greer said. "They use the emergency room as their office visit, which means five to ten times higher (bills)."

Action News 5 first reported about Greer several weeks ago, when his wife donated her kidney to him. Greer's health problems stem from the agent orange he was exposed to in Vietnam.    He says without health care, he would not have been able to pay for his transplant or the medicines he continues to take.

Greer and others in his ministerial alliance have written a letter to Governor Breseden, asking him to support the health care bill and do everything possible to prevent Tennessee from joining a rash of lawsuits seeking to repeal the health care bill.

The Baptist ministers are also trying to enlist congregations, from COGIC to the Catholic church, and this week, the Presidents Office on Faith Based and Neighborhood Initiatives contacted the Ministerial Association offering support.

Ministers say right now they are in the process of planning a symposium that would include representatives from the White House.

"We would have representatives from President Obama's administration, from the Department of Health and Human Services, to come and share the specifics of this new reform law," Montgomery said.

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