Judicial Council Decisions Search
Decision No. 674
May 13 1992
In Re: Legality of Mandatory Participation in the Health Care Plan (UMCare).
Digest of Case
The General Conference possesses the authority to adopt a health care plan which mandates participation by various members of Annual, Provisional and Missionary Conferences and others employed by United Methodist salary-paying units.
Statement of Facts
The 1992 General Conference adopted a health care plan known as "UMCare." The complete text of the plan can be found in the Advance Daily Christian Advocate, pages 472-487, with amendments in the Daily Christian Advocate, pages 463-464 . In addition to the mandatory category participation, the plan provides for voluntary and optional participation. It also excludes certain persons from participation in the plan. The General Conference requested the Judicial Council to determine the legality of only one aspect of the plan, i.e., the mandatory participation of certain persons in the plan. JURISDICTION The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under ¶ 2615 of the 1988 Discipline. ANALYSIS The issue raised here is similar to the question that we addressed in Decision No. 481. There, we said: Par. 15 of the Constitution gives the General Conference full legislative power over all matters distinctively connectional. The enactment of provisions relating to pensions which apply uniformly to all ministers, or to lay employees of constituent units of The United Methodist Church, is a distinctively connectional matter. Such General Conference legislation has repeatedly been held binding upon the Annual Conferences. See, for example, Decisions No. 304 and 360. We know of no constitutional or disciplinary provision which prohibits the General Conference from determining the classes or persons which must be included within the health care plan of The United Methodist Church.
The General Conference possesses the authority to adopt a health care plan which mandates participation by various members of Annual, Provisional and Missionary Conferences and others employed by United Methodist salary-paying units. Concurring Opinion We concur with the majority opinion. However, the questions voiced about the content of the report make it difficult to determine legislative intent. Therefore, we would urge a careful review of the legislation by the appropriate agencies. Contradictions In language, improper restrictions and limitations should be adjusted as soon as possible. Tom Matheny John G. Corry Gene E. Sease Sally Curtis AsKew