Hospital Administrator Jerry Laue spoke with residents who attended a breakfast Thursday, discussing the ongoing conundrum of making sure all people nationwide have health insurance.
"The health care condition in this country is in a crisis," Laue said. "It has been for a long time."
Laue said an estimated 700,000 Hoosiers are uninsured. He said looking at the unemployment number of Clay County of 9.5 percent, the county number could be similar.
"The lack of health care is an injustice," Laue said. "As a community, as a state and as a Democracy, we have to get the power of the pen. We have to stand up and take notice."
Laue stressed the nation's health care problem is not singular.
"Collectively, we've got to learn to partner," he said.
He pointed to individuals, insurance companies, hospitals and government must focus on solving the issue.
He said individuals may help themselves by making lifestyle changes while insurance must look into more affordable ways for health care. He added hospitals must become more efficient and government should "establish a safety net."
Laue said the St. Vincent Hospital network has established a goal of 100 percent health care coverage by 2020.
"We need to make long-term changes that are going to impact us well into the future," he said.
Laue said the St. Vincent network of hospitals has worked on strategies of covering uninsured citizens since 2003.
"We have to be about social justice," Laue said. "This cause is what we're about."
He added the hospital's network provides information to citizens throughout the year and not just during Cover the Uninsured Week, encouraging anyone to visit the hospital and speak with Health Access Worker Michelle Arnold.
"The uninsured hurts all of us," Laue said. "We've got to get a handle on it."