One of the goals we set for the Jewish Action Network was to share moments and signs of hope, along with our concerns and ideas for action. This being Shabbat Naḥamu, the Shabbat of comfort that comes immediately after Tisha B’Av, we wanted to call everyone’s attention to such a moment and signs of hope.
After last week’s failure by the Senate Republicans to devastate the health care of millions of Americans – that failure by itself was a good sign – some members of Congress have finally realized that they are supposed to be speaking to each other and working across the aisle for the benefit of all Americans! Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the ranking Democrat on the committee, announced that the full committee (R’s and D’s!) would start holding hearings in early September on repairs to the existing health insurance scheme known variously as the Affordable Care Act, and Obamacare. They will hear from a wide range of witnesses, including doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, patients, etc., to help them craft a bi-partisan plan that will actually benefit those who need it most.
Then this morning, an op-ed column showed up in the New York Times, written by two members of the House of Representative, one Democrat and one Republican. They are co-chairs of a wonderfully named group called the House Problem Solvers Caucus, which is almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. The Caucus has come up with a compromise proposal to stabilize the health insurance market. It’s a short-term fix, but it’s a start!
“Comfort, O Comfort my people,” the prophet tells us on this Shabbat of Comfort. May these beginnings of bi-partisan efforts to meet the needs of the people be of some comfort to us, as we hope and pray for these efforts to continue.
Shabbat shalom! Nina and Rabbi Hillel