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Health Care as an Essential Building Block for a Free Society: The Convergence of the Catholic and Secular American Imperative

As the twentieth century closes, marked by triumphal strides in medical advances, the American society has yet to ensure that each person has access to affordable health care. To correct this injustice, this article calls on the nation's political and corporate leaders, providers, and faith-based groups to join all Americans in a new national conversation on systemic health care reform. The Catholic faith tradition is one that compels both a proclamation to ministry values and a commitment to speak out against the challenges or threats to what are essential to the well-being of individuals and society. The Catholic health ministry must therefore be both a voice for the voiceless and an agent of transformation. The nation's goal should be to "reposition" health care from its status as an important, but ultimately optional building block to one that is essential.