Iowa Stats; Union Endorsement; Harvard Study on Unaffordable Doctor Visits; Local Resolution Effort in Connecticut

Public Citizen Has You Covered

Welcome to this week’s edition of “We’ve Got You Covered,” a weekly tipsheet designed to highlight key news about Medicare for All and call out the biggest industry lies and falsehoods about universal health care. Please send tips, feedback and questions to Mike Stankiewicz at mstankiewicz@citizen.org or (202) 588-7779.

MAJOR LABOR UNION ENDORSES MEDICARE FOR ALL

Unions increasingly are stepping up and demanding guaranteed health care for all.

In a recent op-ed in USA TODAY, the co-presidents of UNITE HERE Local 11, which represents more than 30,000 workers in southern California and Arizona, said unequivocally that health care is a basic human right. They also said that the hours they spend negotiating health care could be used more effectively on other urgent needs, such as ensuring a living wage or a retirement with dignity.

“The most pressing issue in our workers’ lives is the necessity of health care,” the co-presidents wrote. “While protective and proud of the excellent medical benefits we have won in our contracts, we strongly believe Medicare for All is a promising proposal that should be pursued for our members, and for our country.” UNITE HERE Local 11 joins a at least 19 other national unions, representing more than 10 million workers, that support Medicare for All.

HARVARD STUDY SHOWS BARRIERS TO HEALTH CARE ACCESS

Despite gains in insurance coverage over the past 20 years, more Americans than ever report being unable to afford to go a doctor, according to a new Harvard study.

The study found that between 1998 and 2017, the number of adults who were unable to afford to see a doctor rose by nearly a third – from 11% to nearly 16%. And even among adults with health insurance, there was a 60% increase – 7% to nearly 12%.

“Our findings call into question the value of private health insurance today,” said Dr. Laura Hawks, a Harvard research fellow and author of the study. “When so many people can’t get the care they need even when they have insurance coverage, it says that insurance is not doing what it is supposed to do: ensure that health care is affordable when you need it.”

Under Medicare for All, no American would have to forgo a doctor’s visit because they are uninsured or have high out-of-pocket costs.

ANOTHER RESOLUTION IS EXPECTED TO PASS

Yet another locality is signaling its support for Medicare for All.

A city councilmember and school board member from New London, Conn., penned an op-ed explaining why the city’s Council has brought a Medicare for All resolution for consideration.  They argued, “As employers, Connecticut municipalities would greatly benefit from the shift to a federal single-payer health insurance program, such as Medicare for All. The total cost of health care for employees working in our school district was over $8 million, nearly $1.9 million more than the previous year, a 29% increase.”

The New London, Conn., City Council will vote on the Medicare for All resolution today, and area advocates will use the opportunity to strongly make the local case for the policy. The city, which has a population of almost 30,000 people, would join cities as diverse as Los Angeles, Tampa and Bethlehem, Pa., in officially endorsing Medicare for All.

“Resolutions supporting Medicare for All are passing in small towns and large metropolitan areas all across the country,” said Melinda St. Louis, director of Public Citizen’s Medicare for All campaign. “This is how a movement is made, through grassroots activism and citizens demanding their politicians support the public over corporate interests.”

REMINDER: Iowa is being hit hard under the current corporate-owned health care system. At least 17 rural hospitals in the state are at risk of closure despite the state’s Medicaid expansion.

Under Medicare for All, no patient would show up to the emergency room without insurance, thus ending uncompensated and charity care that plagues many small rural hospitals.

And while the Affordable Care Act has helped decrease the state’s uninsured rate, too many Iowans remain uninsured. Medicare for All is the only plan that would cover every Iowan, and American, and ensure the financial viability of rural hospitals.

To speak with a Medicare for All policy expert, or if you have questions about Public Citizen’s work, please contact Mike Stankiewicz, mstankiewicz@citizen.org, (202) 588-7779.