January 17-24, 2007
By ANDY HART, The Hartford News Staff Writer
Over 50 Christian, Moslem and Jewish clergy men and women from all over Connecticut joined as one at the State Capitol Tuesday morning to demand universal healthcare for all state residents.
"Healthcare is a right,not a privilege," said Rabbi Stephen Fuchs of Congregation Beth Israel. “We are all created equal and I stand here with my brothers and sisters to ask the Governor and the legislature to work together – and I stress the word together – to give quality healthcare to everybody.”
Right now, it is estimated that approximately 407,000 state residents do not have health insurance. About half of those uninsured are African-Americans and Hispanics.
“Hispanics makes up about 10 percent of Connecticut’s population but account for about 40 percent of the state’s uninsured,” said Bishop Jeremiah Torres of the House of Restoration Church in Hartford. He added that healthcare costs are rising four times faster than the wages of most working people.
Dr. Reza Mansoor, M.D., pointed out that his native country, Sri Lanka, has universal health care although it is one of the poorest countries in the world. The United States, by contrast, is one of world’s the richest countries but still does not provide healthcare for all its people.
“It’s not a question of whether we can afford it, we can afford it,” said Mansoor.
He went on to describe a patient he had treated at Hartford Hospital who had had no insurance and therefore was unable to get medical care for several years. When the man’s situation grew so dire that his life was on the line, it took extensive efforts to save him. “Our poor healthcare system leads to expensive rescue measures, not to inexpensive preventive measures,” said Mansoor.