Health Care for All Task Group

We have the “best health care system in the world?” Lessons from COVID and Our Health Care System.

Below are just some of the points which were presented as a part of the October 23 Health Care for All Task Group’s “Our Broken Health Care System Calls Us to Action: Lessons from COVID-19 Community Conversation and Coffee Hour” ZOOM event. Over 90 CSJ community members, health practitioners, and students from St. Kate’s attended the event live with an additional 75+ people watching the recording online on the CSJ YouTube channel. Our guest presenters Anne Jones, RN and Dr. Ken Englehart from Health Care for All Minnesota, along with a special group of St. Catherine students with Dr. Meghan Mason provided extremely packed, in-depth and enlightening presentations examining the state of our U.S. Healthcare System, the systemic inequities evident throughout the COVID pandemic, and the need to re-examine how every American could have access to quality, affordable and equitable care. In the words of Dr. Englehart, “State Senator John Marty has introduced what he calls The Minnesota Health Plan, which would provide comprehensive medical coverage to all Minnesota residents.” Watch the event here.

  • 45,000 preventable deaths/year are attributed to inability to access health care in the U.S.
  • Two-thirds of personal bankruptcies are due to medical debt.
  • Approximately 29 million Americans are uninsured, 41 million are underinsured.
  • Black and Latinx Minnesotans are more likely to contract COVID-19 than their white counterparts, while Black and Native American Minnesotans are more likely to die from the illness.
  • Black and Latinx communities experience 4.5 and 5 times the rates of infection, respectively.
  • The death rate of Black and Latinx Minnesotans is five times that of their white counterparts, and the Native community has seen a death rate that is an astounding 6.5 times higher.
  • Even though the case distribution for infection rates is relatively equal across the age spectrum, the death rates from COVID are much higher for older adults.
  • Homelessness can dramatically impact a person’s ability to stay safe and access to testing for COVID.

A Closer Look at COVID-19 Health Disparities in Minnesota

Check out the below flyer highlighting the harsh truth of COVID-19 disparities in Minnesota.

Minnesota’s COVID-19 Disparities


Mission and Goals

The Health Care for All Task Group is dedicated to the Catholic Social Teaching principle that access to quality health care is the right of everyone without exception. We are committed to healthcare policy, public action and advocacy for policies that promote equitable access to quality health care for all. The group collaborates with other organizations to influence political policy change.

Goals for 2020-21:

  • Educate ourselves about healthcare access issues, gaps in access to health care in our community, proposed health care reforms and their effect on people in our community and factors that broadly affect the overall health of the community.
  • Share information through community education events including on health equity and access to mental health services.
  • Collaborate with other local community organizations working for initiatives to improve community health, health care access, and health equity for all.
  • Promote civic engagement and advocate for public policies that will increase access to equitable health care and health equity for all and promote community health.

Catholic social teaching insists that health care is a basic right flowing from the sanctity of human life and dignity of the human person. In the words of Pope Francis, “Health is not a consumer good but a universal right, so access to health services cannot be a privilege. Basic Health Care is denied – denied! to too many people.”  (5.9.2016)

For more information contact Marty Roers at mroers@csjstpaul.org.


Task Group Highlighted Past Events

Health and Housing? Impacts on us ALL

 

Minnesota’s Emerging Health Care Needs: Are We Ready?

Senator John Marty and Mary Manning from the MN Department of Health joined the HCFA Task Group for an engaging conversation on April 4, 2019, about emerging health needs in Minnesota that “keep them up at night.”  Mary provided an in-depth examination of health trends in Minnesota while Senator John discussed legislation in the 2019 session.

Health Care for All Breakfast:  Examining the MN Governor’s Race from the lens of Health and Catholic Social Teaching

The CSJ Health Care for All Task Group hosted a Fall breakfast event with Toby Pearson, Executive Director of the Catholic Health Association of Minnesota, to examine the 2018 Minnesota Governor’s race from the lens of health, Catholic Social Teaching, and their possible impacts on community health for all Minnesotans.  Catholic Social Teaching clearly says that everyone without exception has a right to adequate health care, so how might this lens broaden our conversation about the fall elections.  Join us for future events and conversations on Health and Healthy Communities for All.

Health Care and Justice at the Crossroads:

“We need to change the NARRATIVE,” was the challenge put forth by Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Commissioner of the MN Department of Health from 2011 to 2017, at a recent April 28th morning forum sponsored by the CSJ Health Care for All Task Group and the Justice Commission.  “We need to create a new alternative world-view in which well-being is the goal and health is a right.  A narrative in which we shift from a patient centered ‘health care’ approach to “community centered care” in which “public health is what we, as a society, do collectively to assure the conditions in which (all) people can be healthy.”

Our morning conversation with approximate 70 engaged community members challenged not merely our narrative, but deeply expanded our thinking about how a truly faith and values centered approach could dramatically shift our approach to health for all.  So that ALL people can be healthy is especially problematic when you consider the shocking inequities and disparities in Minnesota.  This event exposed a deep community longing for authentically conversation about health and injustice in Minnesota along with a growing desire to respond with deeper awareness, further education, and a “prophetic witness that comes from partnering with new eyes and joining others in working for systemic change that will enable ALL to live.” In other words, so that ALL people can be healthy.


Resources and Collaborative Organizations