Letter to the Editor

Remember the uninsured this week

Sunday, March 14, 2010

To the Editor:

For more than 129 years, St. Vincent Health has been serving as a voice for the voiceless.

With 19 ministries serving 46 counties, we have an opportunity to amplify the voices of those most in need. This includes more than the 561,000 Hoosiers who are currently living without health insurance.

Throughout the country, the economic crisis is making the situation even worse. In Indiana, the unemployment rate has climbed to 9.3 percent and in some communities, it is even higher. For many, the struggle to deal with a recent job loss is further complicated by a loss in employer-sponsored health coverage.

St. Vincent Health is committed to achieving our 2020 goal of 100 percent coverage for all. Creating a system where all Americans not only have access to affordable health coverage, but also have access to quality services is not an easy undertaking. To achieve this goal, we must advocate for changes in policy on both the national front and in our local communities. We must all work together to help solve our nation's healthcare crisis.

This year, national Cover the Uninsured Week will take place March 14-20. This week provides each of us an opportunity to highlight the fact that too many Americans are living without health insurance and to demand solutions from our nation's leaders. This includes raising awareness and building support among policy-makers, healthcare professionals, faith leaders and the business community.

As this is being written, Congress is debating legislation that would reform the healthcare system and provide health insurance coverage to millions of uninsured Americans -- bringing us closer to achieving our goal of 100 percent access and 100 percent coverage than we have been in decades. As we enter the final stretch of the health reform debate, we must continue to be vocal on this issue. We must agree that 100 percent access and 100 percent coverage is the only acceptable outcome. We must not compromise.

As you listen to the debate in Washington, we encourage you to evaluate the proposals and ask these very simple questions:

* Will the healthcare system be redesigned so that I can easily get clinically excellent healthcare?

* Will anyone be left behind?

* Is my coverage decent?

* Are the vulnerable covered?

* Can I get health insurance? Can I afford by plan?

* Will my plan be there tomorrow?

The opportunity to do so much good for so many people is rare. We owe it to ourselves, and to our community to take advantage of this opportunity that is currently before us.

Jerry Laue,


St. Vincent Clay Hospital