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Michigan Universal Health Care Access Network

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Mid-Michigan Community: Health Care is a Right

by Keith McCall, Lansing MichUHCAN

Community members are meeting to discuss how to provide health care for the uninsured of Ingham County. MichUHCAN activists have helped keep the discussions focussed on citizens' rights to access, along with other issues and problems.

In February, over 150 people met to discuss four principles laid out as guidelines for developing a plan for better access. It was fascinating that in each of the four small-group discussions about the principles, people recognized that a key one was missing, namely, that access to health care is a right for all citizens, and that all citizens should have access to the same level of care.

This was heartening to those of us attending who are MichUHCAN activists; verbal reference to efforts of MichUHCAN were made at several points in the group discussions.

The five principles coming from the February meeting are:

  1. Access to health care is a right for all citizens. Upholding that right entails responsibilities that the entire community must bear.
  2. It is in every stakeholder's interest to create a healthier community. An organized system of care is needed to assure quality care for all citizens, and to improve the community's overall health and economic strength.
  3. All health care stakeholders in the community must be at the table, sharing perspectives and working together to resolve access problems in the current health care system. The common goal of all stakeholders is to create, maintain, and evaluate an improved system that is both efficient and effective in delivering quality health care to all citizens.
  4. A fair and equitable method of distributing the cost of an organized system of care must be determined by all stakeholder groups collaboratively. The process of determining this method should involve an analysis of local health care assets, costs, delivery mechanisms, and outcomes.
  5. An organized system of care must foster mutual education of all stakeholders. This will require new thinking by providers, insurers, employers, and consumers on the ways in which their policies and practices encourage or discourage healthy life choices and effective utilization of health resources.

Participants in this on-going discussion will meet in July on current funding mechanisms. To get involved, call Angie Morin at the Ingham County Health Department, (517) 887-4397.