Coalition Text on Health Care:
As students of the University of Chicago, with a vested interest in the policies pursued by this institution, we are writing to express our concern about the health care currently provided to employees, students, and community members by the University. We approach this issue with the conviction that health care is not a privilege but a right and, accordingly, that every person deserves equal access to equal care. The University of Chicago has the responsibility of using its resources to promote the health of students, employees, and community members, and it not currently doing so. We understand that, in the face of the current financial crisis, certain measures of restructuring are required. We also believe that the University can pursue these changes while recognizing and addressing the value of the students who attend it, the workers who make it run, and the community members with whom it shares a neighborhood. The current situation is not acceptable. We acknowledge the efforts that the Administration has undertaken towards resolving these issues. Nonetheless we hold the following as principles necessary for the University of Chicago to fulfill its purpose:
- The Student Care Center should offer better health services to students, follow a better process for delivering those services, and carry out its work inside a better and more appropriate space. Specifically, all students should enjoy improved access to sports medicine and physical therapy, ameliorated STI testing practices, and enhanced gynecological care.
- Graduate students who work on campus – as teachers, teaching assistants, researchers, mentors, and at other jobs – should receive year-long health insurance coverage in exchange for their labor.
- The University of Chicago should direct its resources so as to fairly provide for the health care needs of people who live in neighborhoods around the University. All persons who arrive at the University of Chicago Medical Center Emergency Room for medical care should be equally considered for treatment on location regardless of income and insurance status.
- All University of Chicago employees, including Medical Center employees, should be treated with dignity in the workplace and provided with affordable and comprehensive health insurance.
- Institutional funding priorities should not be determined by any limited decision-making body, but instead be subject to democratic processes inclusive of all potentially affected parties: administration, students, faculty, staff, and members of the community. These processes should take into account new initiatives, review, feedback, and referendums from these aforementioned groups. In addition, these institutional funding priorities should include, but not be limited to, decisions regarding health insurance, medical facilities and services, and health and medical funding on campus and its surrounding communities.