Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and Anthony Accurso answer questions

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and Anthony Accurso answer questions

The program, sponsored by The first Unitarian Universalist Congregational Society of Brooklyn, also featured Anthony Accurso, Board member of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), and Ellen Issacs, attending physician and Assistant Clinical Professor of St. John’s Hospital and a member of PNHP.

The panel presented the case for single-payer healthcare to a highly engaged audience. Some of the facts presented included the following:

• The United States spends more than twice as much on health care as the average of other developed nation.

• Over 47 million Americans have no health insurance whatsoever

• The United States alone treats health care as a commodity according to the ability to pay, rather than as a social service to be distributed according to medical need

• At least 22,000 die in the United States each year because they do not have health insurance and access to care.

Sandy Spier, one of the organizers, is a part of the church’s Weaving the Fabric of Diversity Program, which works to create forums such as this to educate themselves and the community about issues related to social justice. She noted that the health care crisis is “one of the key issues facing America today. And it’s a life and death issue. Congress can do nothing without a mandate from the people.”

Panel member Accurso was pleased with the chance to educate more people on the need for a single-payer system in this country. “I’m amazed that this issue is not well publicized, not well understood. Health care in this country is broken and the solution is not complicated. The key is getting the message out that private insurance companies are the root of the problem—and political discussions in the media haven’t addressed that fact.”

Accurso is optimistic because “intelligent people confronted with the facts [about our broken health care system] tend to come to the same conclusion.”

To find out more about the growing single-payer healthcare movement and about HR 676, the US National Health Insurance bill in Congress, go to  http://www.pnhp.org or  http://www.healthcare-now.org.