Exploring health-care dilemma, ‘Mercy Killers’ set for Philly performance

    Mercy Killers,” a one-man play about health care, is making a stop in Philadelphia Saturday.

    Healthcare-Now is backing the play. Audience members will have to decide if the 60-minute sketch is a propaganda piece for that group’s agenda to create a single-payer health system in the United States.

    Playwright Michael Milligan says he, for one, thinks further reform is necessary, despite the country’s long and contentious debate over health care. Many people don’t realize that medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy in America and the cause of much family financial strain, he said.

    “It’s not something I thought I would be interested in until it happened to me,” Milligan said.

    He was in a long-term relationship with a partner who was chronically ill and tied to a job in order to hold on to health insurance.

    The play is about a guy name Joe from southeastern Ohio. Think: “Joe the Plumber” from the 2008 presidential campaign.

    In the play, police suspect that Milligan’s character helped his wife die after a long battle with cancer.

    “A little twist in the story is that Joe is a kind of a libertarian. He likes to listen to Rush Limbaugh. So as he’s telling his story he’s also grappling with his own worldview,” Milligan said. “He’s done everything he’s supposed to, but in the end it’s not enough.”

    “Mercy Killers” is in town for just one night at the William Way Community Center in Philadelphia. Tickets are free.


    Here’s an excerpt from the play:

    “Well, thank you, officer, for letting me know I’m in trouble. Come on, man, you got to be kidding me. Like I wet the bed or something, don’t even give me that. Like I stole your donut. Man, you don’t even know what trouble is, OK? Trouble is coming home … 12-hour grind from the shop and the bank has put your bed and couch on the front lawn. Trouble’s you got something growing in you, eating you out from the inside. This supposed to be trouble?”

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