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Outlining True Healthcare Reform Principles

January 21, 2011

Sister Mary Roch Rockledge, sponsor liaison to Sisters of Mercy Health System in St. Louis, has written a letter stressing the importance of implementing true healthcare reform in the U.S. We share excerpts of her reflections after a vote by the House of Representatives to repeal the reform legislation signed into law last year and as some legislators propose changes to the law.

We must realize that we will never have effective health care reform until we say with conviction that every person has the right to access to health care. The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world without a vision for what we truly believe – that every individual should have access to basic, comprehensive health care. Without a clear vision of what health care must deliver, reform will never happen.

Secondly…as long as there are providers in health care who are in it for profit alone, the system will never be reformed. We can all agree that systems must be profitable to survive. But the hope is that profit will be turned back into defined efforts to improve the quality of care and expand service to meet need, not line the pockets of shareholders.

Finally, divisiveness among organizations of health care providers is having a crippling effect on collaborative efforts, both for reform and for serving the needs of all members of society – the rich, the poor, the underserved, the underinsured.

Health care is not about competition. It’s not about how much profit can be made for stakeholders. It is and always has been about a commitment to a common vision of care. It is about creating solutions in a collaborative environment to find the best ways to care for all members of society….to honor their dignity and to give them access to basic, comprehensive health care. That should be the stated vision for reform.

I encourage all of you to become advocates for reform that envisions a true commitment to basic health care for all. Only when that vision can be articulated will change happen with defined guidelines to transform the system.

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