Critics of Occupy Wall Street accuse the movement of being rudderless and disorganized, run by nothing more than a ragtag bunch of hippies trying to avoid the work force.
Clearly, those critics haven't met Daniel Lugassy.
As an emergency physician at New York University's Bellevue Hospital, Lugassy—a Windsor Terrace resident—said he's seen firsthand the dismissive nature of the U.S. health care system, which often denies access to the people who need it most.
"I get so frustrated because the health care system in this country is just the exact opposite of every way it should be," he said. "Health care insurance companies, they want people on their plan who are healthy, who don’t use it. I know for a fact I have to turn people away because of social class, race or economic status."
Lugassy, who has aligned with the OWS movement since its inception last September, joined roughly 20 other protesters at 1 Hanson Place in Fort Greene Sunday afternoon in a march to Cadman Plaza, where they met with protesters marching over the Brooklyn Bridge from erstwhile OWS main stage Zucotti Park.
In addition to collaborating with OWS working group Healthcare for the 99%, Lugassy has been a member of Physicians for a National Health Program for the past 10 years, since he began the campus chapter as a student at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
The group's main objective is to instate a single-payer system, which would promote more effective coverage for the so-called "99 percent."
While he's proud of the time he's put into PNHP, Lugassy said it's also upsetting that the group's efforts have done so little to push the country toward comprehensive health care, which he thinks of as basic human right.
"It’s exactly the opposite reason why I went to medical school," he said. "I went to medical school to take care of people when they’re sick, not to try to weed those sick people out and give them less care."
“It’s embarrassing. I’m embarrassed to be a physician sometimes."