3 More Cities Pass Medicare for All This Week

Three more cities join the 100-plus others that have endorsed the Medicare for All legislation. City Councils in Denver, Colorado, Gainesville, Florida, and Kent, Ohio passed the resolution in support of the universal program that ends for-profit healthcare.

Three more cities join the 100-plus others that have endorsed the Medicare for All legislation. City Councils in Denver, Colorado, Gainesville, Florida, and Kent, Ohio passed the resolution recently in support of the universal program that ends for-profit healthcare.

Roughly 26 million Americans remain without health insurance, under 2% are children, as of August 2022, according to PBS. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, 100 million people were uninsured or underinsured, which sparked more cities to hop on the wagon a year following the pandemic in 2021. At that time, the list of cities that passed the resolution was half its size now, only with cities first joining the list in March 2018.

Since then, Medicare for All has been endorsed by hundreds of local, state, and national organizations and co-sponsored by a number of the House Democratic Caucus. The bill provides comprehensive benefits to all with no copays, private insurance premiums, deductibles, or other cost-sharing.

The Medicare for All Act builds upon and expands Medicare to provide comprehensive benefits to every person in the United States, according to the website of U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal. This includes primary care, vision, dental, prescription drugs, mental health, substance abuse, long-term services and supports, reproductive health care, and more.

The Medicare for All Act of 2021 also includes universal coverage of long-term care with no cost-sharing for older Americans and individuals with disabilities, and prioritizes home and community-based care over institutional care. Additionally, patients have the freedom to choose the doctors, hospitals, and other providers they wish to see without worrying about whether a provider is in-network. Lastly, the legislation streamlines the healthcare system to negotiate drug prices.

During the pandemic, more than one million Coloradans – including 34% of those in Denver – saw their incomes reduced; many lost their job-based insurance, and people of color were hit hardest, according to the Colorado Health Institute’s 2021 Health Access Survey. In Denver County, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 12% of residents under 65 are uninsured.

Denver City Councilman Chris Hinds, who suffered a paralyzing car accident in 2008, introduced the motion and shared his experience. He noted private insurance does not protect Denver families from high costs of care. “I went from being a runner and someone who played on three soccer teams to racking up $1 million in health care bills in three months,” said Hinds. “The majority of people who declare bankruptcy, it’s because of medical bills, and of those, the majority have insurance.”

In Ohio’s 13th district, where Kent is located, more than 43,000 people are uninsured, and over 117,000 people live below the poverty threshold.

In Alachua County, where Gainesville is located, the U.S. Census Bureau notes that 11.5% of people under the age of 65 are uninsured.

“Healthcare is a basic human right. There is a minimal standard of care that all humans are entitled to and should receive,” said Commissioner Reina Saco, sponsor of the resolution in Gainesville. "No one should suffer, physically or financially, because they can't pay the cost of a doctor's visit to get simple antibiotics or to set a broken bone.”

“As people face higher prices at the grocery store, the gas tank, and the pharmacy, the movement for universal healthcare is growing louder,” says Brittany Shannahan, Medicare For All organizer at Public Citizen. “These resolutions, city-by-city, are helping to pressure our representatives to act to make guaranteed healthcare for all a reality. The chorus of voices is growing.”