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Let’s help cities join the Medicare for All bandwagon

September 15, 2020

Topics: Quote of the Day

By Harry Saltzgaver
The Grunion, September 10, 2020

Mayor Robert Garcia said Thursday, Sept. 10, he and the mayor of Oakland have created an organization to promote Medicare for All in the country as a whole.

The announcement was in the form of a press release out of Garcia’s office. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff is partnering with Garcia to create Mayors for Medicare for All (Mayors 4 Medicare).

One of the group’s goals, according to the release, is to have a resolution of support in front of the U.S. Conference of Mayors to be adopted as a policy position of that group.

The organization supports Medicare for All legislation introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. A single-payer health care system would cover all Americans, including vision, dental, hearing, prescription drugs, mental health care and more.

“The clearest lesson from the COVID-19 crisis is that healthcare must be a right for all — and not a path to bankruptcy and deeper racial disparities,” Schaaf said in the release. “We’re mobilizing local leaders to build a national movement so the next Congress will adopt legislation that brings healthcare access to all.”

There already is a logo and a website — mayors4medicare.com — that includes a place for mayors to sign up and basic information about the group.


Mayors for Medicare for All

Our coalition has 3 goals:

  1. Create a network of mayors who will endorse Medicare for All.
  2. Submit a formal resolution of support for Medicare for All to the U.S. Conference of Mayors for adoption and as a policy position of the conference.
  3. Work with the next administration and Congress to adopt Medicare for All.


Medicare for All Would Help End Racial Disparities in the South

We must take a stand against a for-profit health care system that too often devalues Black lives.

By Jason Williams, Amelia Parker
Common Dreams, September 9, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic and ongoing protests over racial disparities in the U.S. have highlighted just how broken our health care system is, especially for Black Americans.

As local elected officials, we have witnessed first-hand in our cities how our for-profit health care system fails so many of our residents.

In Louisiana, Black people account for 53% of all coronavirus deaths in Louisiana despite making up 32% of the state population, according to the Louisiana Health Department. Black coronavirus patients also made up three-fourths of hospitalization in the state.

These disparities are underscored by broader racial trends. Black children in New Orleans are 3.5 times more likely to be uninsured than white children—8.5% compared to 2.5%—and Black adults are twice as more likely to be uninsured than whites—32.3% to 16.6%.

In Tennessee, Black residents make up 12% of the population, but account for 33% of coronavirus deaths. Black Tennesseans are 40% more likely to be uninsured than White Tennesseans.

Latinx communities are also experiencing a disproportionately high rate of positive COVID-19 cases in our communities. In Knox County, Tenn. Latinxs represent 30% of the county’s positive and probable COVID-19 cases, while only representing 5% of the county’s total population. A study in New Orleans Parish, La., found that 20% of Hispanics tested positive to COVID-19 vs. just 3% of Whites. Latinx Tennesseans are three times as likely to be uninsured that White Tennesseans, and Latinx Louisianans are 3.6 times as likely to be uninsured then White Louisianans.

In this moment of reckoning on racism in so many aspects of society, we must take a stand against a for-profit health care system that too often devalues Black lives.

Our economic health depends upon our physical health. This is not a red issue or a blue issue, it’s a red white and blue issue. The future of the U.S. is depending on universal health care.

That’s why the New Orleans and Knoxville City Councils joined cities and towns across the country in passing resolutions recently in support of Medicare for All. These resolutions send a powerful signal to Congress that our cities stand with the majority of Americans who demand guaranteed health care.

Jason Williams is the New Orleans City Council President.

Amelia Parker is a Knoxville City Council Member.



By Don McCanne, M.D.

When you study all of the inefficiencies and injustices of our health care system, it does not take much to understand the health care issues that cities face. Although some of our larger cities are able to supply some of the basic infrastructure in health care, perhaps with the backup of counties and states if they are so inclined, the role of the federal government is essential.

If you look at the Medicare program as a model, you can easily see that it would be possible for a federally financed program to ensure health care for everyone. We would merely need to improve Medicare and then expand it to cover everyone as a single payer Medicare for All program.

Today’s articles demonstrate that some city officials do recognize that the solution for their cities’ health care deficiencies would be to establish a national Medicare for All program. We should encourage our city governments to seriously consider this approach and help them to establish a national movement of Cities for Medicare for All, or Mayors for Medicare for All, or whatever name floats. Let’s just do it.

Stay informed! Visit www.pnhp.org/qotd to sign up for daily email updates.

About the Commentator, Don McCanne

Don McCanne is a retired family practitioner who dedicated the 2nd phase of his career to speaking and writing extensively on single payer and related issues. He served as Physicians for a National Health Program president in 2002 and 2003, then as Senior Health Policy Fellow. For two decades, Don wrote "Quote of the Day", a daily health policy update which inspired HJM.

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