Position Statement by ISPC Chicago on South Side Trauma Center

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Position Statement by Illinois Single-Payer Coalition Chicago on South Side Trauma Center, August 2011

On August 15, 2010, a fifteen-year-old South Side Chicago boy named Damian Turner was shot in the back, then driven ten miles by ambulance to the nearest trauma center, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Before the closing of the University of Chicago’s trauma center in 1988, he would have been only one-half mile from care.

The not-for-profit University of Chicago Hospital gave as its reason for closing the trauma center large financial losses due to uncompensated care.

It is impossible to know whether Damian Turner would have died had the travel distance to definitive care been less by a factor of twenty. But which of us would not want that chance for one of our own children? Which of us does not want that chance for any person of any age who is injured in our city—because each person who lives among us is a part of us?

The Illinois Single-Payer Coalition works for a single-payer system of financing health care, with coverage that is universal, equitably financed, not for profit, and publicly accountable, and with comprehensive benefits and free choice of providers.

A single-payer health care system that we the people struggle for, win, and continue to support and defend will be accountable to us. This means that health care facilities will be built and maintained where they are needed, not where they can generate profits for investors, or prestige for their boards of directors and chief executives. Health care institutions will be required to serve their communities, not allowed to abandon them.

Every person will be covered under the national health plan, for all care including hospital care. Every person will be treated by the health care system as having equal value. Every institution will be equally entitled to reimbursement for care provided. There will be no such thing as uncompensated care.

The Illinois Single-Payer Coalition Chicago condemns our health care system’s abandonment of the poor, Blacks and other minorities, the disabled, the sick, the uninsured, and the underinsured. The Illinois Single-Payer Coalition Chicago condemns our health care system’s failure to take as its reason for existence the needs of the people.

We invite you to join us in working for a single-payer health care system for the state of Illinois and ultimately for our country. Go to our web site to receive periodic Action Alerts regarding access to health care on Chicago’s South Side and other issues that are part of the struggle for comprehensive universal health care:

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