CARDINAL GEORGE ISSUES STATEMENT ON THE MEDICALLY UNINSURED
CHICAGO (May 14, 2004) - Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, today asked legislators at all levels to fashion policies and legislation ensuring basic health care access to all in a statement he released in recognition of "Cover the Uninsured Week" at Saint Anthony Hospital, 2875 West 19 th Street, Chicago.
At a legislative breakfast and subsequent news conference, Cardinal George encouraged all health institutions, especially Catholic ones, to keep the safety net available to the medically uninsured until the necessary policies are enacted. The Illinois Catholic Health Association and the Illinois Catholic Conference of Bishops co-sponsored the events with Saint Anthony Hospital in the hope that legislative representatives from every level of government could dialogue and share their mutual plans on addressing an issue that has become a national crisis in America today.
"Individual people, health care institutions, government, business and society as a whole must work together to care for the mind, the body and spirit of all God's people," Cardinal George said. "By raising our voices collectively, there is a greater chance to bring about the changes needed to provide equal and fair access to basic human health care for all."
Statistics indicate that over 1.8 million of the nation's 44 million individuals who have no insurance reside in Illinois. Approximately 3.18 million Illinois residents, almost 1 out of 3, were uninsured at sometime during 2001-2002. An estimated 550,000 suburban residents lack health insurance with another 742,000 in Chicago.
Most people without insurance, approximately 8 out of 10, are in working families. It is believed that 8.5 million uninsured are in constant jeopardy as they are sicker each day and die younger because they cannot receive preventive and clinical health care.
"In view of this crisis, I join many others today in asking for change in our health care system," Cardinal George declared. "Through prayer, hard work and trust in God and each other, we can make access to health care a reality for all the people of our country."