BALTIMORE – The Baltimore City Council passed a resolution yesterday in support of a nationwide Medicare for All program, sending a strong message to Representative “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-Md.) that Baltimore residents in his district care about ending for-profit healthcare in favor of a universal system without copays or out-of-pocket costs. Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.), who represents the rest of the city, has already backed federal Medicare for All legislation.
The resolution was co-introduced by councilmembers Kristerfer Burnett and Odette Ramos.
Baltimore joins more than 100 other localities nationwide that have called for guaranteed healthcare for all – regardless of age, race, income, or zip code.
“I want to thank the advocates who have been pushing these resolutions across the country to try and show that there are municipalities that understand that our constituents, in order to fully thrive, need access to healthcare,” said Councilman Kristerfer Burnett.
“Every Baltimore resident deserves healthcare whenever they need it,” said the Reverend Alvin C. Hathaway, Sr., Pastor of Baltimore’s Union Baptist Church. “No one should be forced to make the desperate choice between paying for insulin or groceries. It’s time to join every other developed nation in making healthcare a guaranteed human right.”
“Every day, we nurses see the human cost of our patients delaying care or going without care, simply because they can’t afford it, and that’s why we need Medicare for All,” said NNU President Jean Ross, RN. “We’re grateful to the City of Baltimore for joining more than a hundred other cities around the country in passing a resolution in support of Medicare for All. The grassroots movement to guarantee health care to all in the United States is growing every day.”
“Our members often report seeing patients who have avoided preventative healthcare services due to lack of insurance and prohibitive costs, meaning that their conditions exacerbate until they are forced to go to the emergency room,” said Ricarra Jones, Political Director, 1199 Service Employees International Union. “Everyone deserves the opportunity to seek preventative care and to receive treatment that will allow them to live full, healthy lives. Passing Medicare for All will allow Americans to live with dignity, and 1199 fully supports this resolution.”
“The best way to protect people from predatory medical debt collections is to make sure they don’t get into medical debt in the first place,” said Brige Dumais with End Medical Debt Maryland.
“As a former Health Policy Analyst for the Maryland Department of Health in Baltimore, I saw firsthand how health coverage improves health outcomes,” said Emily Leonard, a Baltimore resident. “Medicare for All would eliminate the various eligibility requirements that exclude people from coverage. It would remove obstacles to health equity in Baltimore and across the nation.”
“Politicians often state that small businesses are the backbone of the country but the issue of affordable health care is not addressed by them. Small businesses can expect to pay more for an individual policy containing high-deductibles and out-of-pocket costs because they do not belong to a group plan offered by large employees,” said Nancy Louthan, co-owner of Louthan Distilling. “Medicare for All, by providing everyone with affordable health care, allows people to take the risks of starting new businesses.”
“I’ve devoted my career to providing community-based primary health care to some of our most vulnerable neighbors, and every day is a crash course in the failures inherent in for-profit medical care,” said Baltimore physician Max Romano. “Single payer Medicare for all would provide a humane basic level of guaranteed health coverage for all Baltimoreans, irrespective of their ability to fill out reams of annual forms, navigate non-functional websites, or hold on to a full-time job.”
“All of Baltimore’s residents should have federal representation fighting for Medicare for All,” says Brittany Shannahan, Medicare for All organizer with Public Citizen. “There is a groundswell of support nationally for a health care system that puts people first.”
More information about the growing grassroots movement demanding that Congress pass the Medicare for All Act of 2023 can be found at medicare4allresolutions.org.