April 4, 2019
Advocacy Groups Launch Campaign to Encourage Cities and Towns Across the Country to Support Medicare for All
Grassroots Mobilization to Obtain Supportive Resolutions Will Build the Base Needed for Federal Policy Change
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Because the success of a nationwide movement relies on grassroots organizing and local support, a growing coalition, including Public Citizen, Our Revolution, National Nurses United, Local Progress, Healthcare NOW, and People’s Action, is launching a campaign to encourage local elected officials in cities, counties and towns from coast to coast to pass resolutions supporting Medicare for All.
By mobilizing people to engage their local elected officials in the health care debate, the grassroots organizations will build on and strengthen the growing movement for health care for all. Under a Medicare for All system, everyone in the U.S. would receive comprehensive health insurance without copays, deductibles or other out-of-pocket costs. Such a single-payer system would reduce administrative costs by an estimated $500 billion per year, among other benefits.
Tools and resources needed to pass a local resolution, including samples and step-by-step guidance, can be found at a new coalition website medicare4allresolutions.org. The site also includes fact sheets and videos about federal Medicare for All legislation.
“Local governments deal most directly with the consequences of our unaffordable and inequitable health insurance system. Municipal budgets are increasingly strapped due to rising health insurance premiums, and local governments provide frontline response when community members face medical debt-related bankruptcies or become gravely ill or die needlessly because they lacked adequate health insurance,” said Melinda St. Louis, Public Citizen’s Medicare for All campaign director. “By passing resolutions, local governments can help to shape the national public narrative and build political will needed to ultimately win guaranteed health care for everyone as a matter of right.”
In the past month, the city councils of Seattle, Cambridge, Mass. and San Francisco have passed resolutions in support of Medicare for All. While the resolutions are nonbinding, they signal to federal lawmakers that people (nearly 60 percent) demand a national health plan.
“Tools for building local power are critical in the fight for Medicare for All. As more and more local governments pass resolutions supporting Medicare for All, we will show elected officials in Washington that the time has come to guarantee health care a human right,” said Diane May, communications director for Our Revolution.
Medicare for All legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives with a record 106 original co-sponsors and soon will be reintroduced in the U.S. Senate, signaling growing support among congressional lawmakers. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced support for hearings on the legislation, which would be the first time a single-payer health care system will be taken seriously by House leadership.
“We expect elected officials in our local communities to stand with us. It’s unconscionable that U.S. health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations have created the most expensive health care system in the world by putting profits over people,” said Connie Huynh, director of the People’s Action Health Care for All campaign. “We are fighting for Medicare for All so that communities of color, rural families, LGBTQ people, immigrants, seniors and others have access to the comprehensive, culturally competent care that we all deserve.”
“We have spent decades growing the grassroots movement for Medicare for All, and to get it across the finish line, and can’t emphasize enough the importance of local governments getting on board. Every door we knock, every conversation we have is lifted by local leadership passing a resolution supporting Medicare for All, which also puts pressure on local representatives to sign on to the legislation,” said Jean Ross, president of National Nurses United. “We hope to see many more local governments pass these critical resolutions, because we are beyond tired of seeing patients in our communities – who are our neighbors, friends, and family – suffer and die unnecessarily in our broken, profit-driven system. It’s time for leadership at all levels to do what’s right and strongly, publicly support Medicare for All.”