The health care summit held Feb. 25 in Washington, D.C. between President Barack Obama and leaders of Congress was planned with the aim of dealing with one of the most pressing issues facing many citizens in this country.

But the summit failed to look at what many consider the most commonsense approach to health care — a single-payer, universal program.

Local activist Jerry Call rightfully pointed this out in his announcement that he plans to hold one of many counter summits to occur across the country. Call will gather with others for a “Sidewalk Summit” on Saturday, Feb. 27 at noon at the corner of Park and Main streets in Rockland.

Greater access to health care and reining in costs will not be achieved without real reform to the system. Too much money is being spent on administration in the private insurance industry. Private companies demand profits, which is reasonable in most industries, but not when it comes to whether people receive health care coverage.

The lack of representatives of all viewpoints undermined the credibility of the so-called summit in Washington, D.C. All sides — from single-payer advocates to free market defenders — should have been invited to this forum so that the ideas could flow and be challenged.

The insurance industry’s influence within both major political parties leads some to belief that any true reform is doubtful. Yet leaders must keep trying. They should continue to meet and consider all options, including expanding Medicare to include younger citizens.

More sidewalk summits are needed to send the message to our elected leaders that they need to lead and solve our lack of a coherent national health care plan. As many people continue to stress, all citizens should at least have the same coverage that the leaders they elect have.