People should “become divinely dissatisfied with the status quo of life” and challenge inequality, particularly in health care, Georgia Sen. Hardie Davis, D-Augusta, said Monday.
He spoke at University Hospital as part of its Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration while employees packed an auditorium. Davis quoted King himself as saying, “ ‘Of all of the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.’ ”
Still, that continues in a country where nearly 50 million people lack health insurance, leading to “the financial wreckage of inadequate health coverage” where medical bills force them into bankruptcy and foreclosure, Davis said.
“Medical debt has driven people into poverty and kept them there,” he said.
Davis applauded University and its employees for taking care of the uninsured as they would their own families.
“I am assured that everyone in this room is dedicated to providing the best care that your patients day in and day out need,” he said. “And so on today I urge you to follow in Dr. King’s footsteps serving your fellow man.”
Davis used another King quote to call for action in addressing inequality.
“ ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy,’ ” he quoted King, and that should mean change.
“We must become divinely dissatisfied with the status quo of life,” Davis said. “We must be dissatisfied that there is health care for some but not for all.”
Use King Day not only to reflect on King’s legacy but also to put it into action, he said.
“I challenge you this day, as health care professionals, I challenge you as citizens, stand in the gap and meet the needs of someone else because you too have become divinely dissatisfied with the world we see, just like Dr. King did,” Davis said. “Stand up (against) social injustice, racial injustice and economic injustice and let us become the generation that meets the needs of all Georgians, all Augustans.”