At Presence St. Francis Hospital on Jan. 16, the theme was “Justice in Health Care,” following the words of Dr. Martin Luther King: “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”
Linda Ray Murray, M.D., M.P.H. said every human being has a basic fundamental right to be healthy. “When we have health inequities, we’re in trouble. … Inequities in healthcare are unfair – they are based in injustice.” According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health inequities kill millions of people around the world,” she said. She also said WHO has found power and resources around the world are allocated according to class, structural racism, and gender. “Since we can’t change the rules, we have to change the system,” she said.
Three aspects necessary for health, said Dr. Murray, are jobs, housing, and education. “We live in a state that refuses to fund education. When you cut the education budget and increase class sizes, [children] have or obesity, more diabetes and more high blood pressure.” She said healthy food is so expensive and out-of-reach for many because the government “subsidizes meat and milk and not fruits and vegetables.”
Turning to the current political situation in the U.S., with, at that time, the imminent inauguration of Donald Trump as president, Dr. Murray said, many people voted for him because they felt something was wrong with this country. “And there we agree, because something is not right. … We have a broken medical system. We need to start to talk about a single-payer system.”
Dr. Murray urged the audience to “fight against racism, fight against hatred, bigotry, and foreign wars – the real things that cause death.”