So many people deserve thanks for supporting our recent efforts to hold a community discussion about healthcare. We created this opportunity by bringing Broadway actor, Michael Milligan and his powerful play, Mercy Killers, to the Eastern Panhandle. We hoped that audience members would think and talk about whether healthcare is a commodity or a human right.
The organizations that signed on as co-sponsors reflected broad-based community support: the Eastern Panhandle Central Labor Council; League of Women Voters of Jefferson County; NAACP, Jefferson County WV Branch; Shepherd University Lifelong Learning Program; Single Payer Action, Berkeley Springs and Physicians for a National Health Program
We were especially indebted to the proprietors of six venues, who provided facilities at little or no expense: The Ice House, Berkeley Springs; African-American Community Assn of Jefferson County, Charles Town; The Opera House, Shepherdstown; Calvary United Methodist Church, Martinsburg; The Baha'i Regional Center, Ranson; and Shepherd University, Shepherdstown.
We appreciated the media that helped us get out the word: The WV Observer; The Good Newspaper; Fluent; In-the-Panhandle; The Spirit of Jefferson; The Journal; The Shepherdstown Chronicle; Unions for Single Payer Healthcare Newsletter; WSHU and the Winners & Losers ; The Picket; WV Public Radio; WRNR; and WEPM.
Many, many individuals stepped up to cover pre-performance expenses, to serve as moderators, ushers, lighting crew and information resources at each performance. These willing, talented people took on whatever they could so the show would go on.
All of this effort provided very rich experiences for the 339 people who attended. We are grateful to each of them. During the post-performance discussions, the vast majority of those voicing opinions or describing frustrating attempts to find affordable care confirmed that our country needs to pay for healthcare in a more equitable way. Their experiences often illustrated that having private health insurance is not the same as having healthcare and raised the question: what service does private health insurance provide as it siphons off healthcare dollars?
We welcome interest in a specific solution to the problem, Improved Medicare for All, as put forth in HR 676, legislation currently before the US House of Representatives. Contact us at EPSPAN@gmail.com.
John Aldis, MD
Lynn Moses Yellott
Mercy Killers Volunteer Production Management Team
EPSPAN-Eastern Panhandle Single Payer Action Network