bonitagrubbsChristine Stuart photo
Muslim, Jewish, and Christian clergy stood united Tuesday in an effort to bring universal, affordable, and quality health care to the state.For the interfaith coalition, universal health care is a moral issue, Rev. Bonita Grubbs said. It’s also a matter of equality. The Rev. Davida Foy Crabtree said “it’s imperative that we who are white follow our latino leadership on this issue.“There are about 400,000 residents without health insurance in the state. It’s estimated that about 40 percent of the uninsured are latino and about 16 percent are black.

Democratic legislators who have been working on this issue have said health care is one of their top priorities in 2007. Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who followed their lead a few weeks ago, offered her own plan to address the needs of the uninsured in the state. Which health care proposal does the coalition support?Grubbs said the coalition will meet again in February to endorse one of the proposals, but speaking for herself she said she doesn’t support Rell’s proposal. “We want a plan better than the governor’s,” Rev. Shelley Copeland said. “We want the coverage the governor has.” Click here and here to read about the governor’s plan. Grubbs said the coalition will continue to apply pressure “until the best plan comes out of the House and Senate.” She said it’s the government’s job to figure out how to get from point A to point B.  Rabbi Steven Fuchs asked the legislature and the governor to “work together to create a plan that would give quality, affordable health care to everybody.” Dr. Reza Mansoor, of the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, said the health care system we have now is the best health care system for those who can afford it. A native of Sri Lanka, Mansoor said he doesn’t understand how the United States – which has a much higher gross national product than Sri Lanka – claims it can’t afford a universal health care system. He said it’s ironic that Sri Lanka has a very good universal health care system in place and the United States does not. A cardiologist at Hartford Hospital, Mansoor said he once treated a farmer from New York who had ignored a toothache because he didn’t have insurance and ended up with abscesses that had migrated to his brain and caused problems with his heart. If the farmer had sought treatment when he started to have symptoms, he would have been prescribed an antibiotic instead of open heart surgery, Mansoor said.