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New Orleans Backs Medicare for All, Emergency Coronavirus Legislation

Statement of Melinda St. Louis, Director, Public Citizen’s Medicare for All Campaign

Note: The New Orleans City Council unanimously approved today a resolution in support of the federal Medicare for All Act of 2019, as well the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act, which would guarantee all residents full coverage for medically necessary health care without any out-of-pocket costs from now until a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available to the public. Other cities, including Detroit, Philadelphia, Seattle and San Francisco, also have passed resolutions in support of Medicare for All. Public Citizen is part of a coalition urging citizens to press their local governments to pass these resolutions.  

The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the dangerous pitfalls of our for-profit health care system. Today, the New Orleans City Council sent a powerful message, reflecting the critical need for guaranteed health care for all to ensure that no one should go without care, especially during this pandemic.

Almost 30% of Louisiana residents have unpaid medical debt, and the state suffers from some of the worst racial health disparities in the nation, demonstrated by the disproportionate rates of morbidity and mortality among black Louisianans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

From small towns like Bethlehem, Pa., and Newburgh Heights, Ohio, to major metropolitan cities like Los Angeles, Tampa and now New Orleans, municipalities across the country are demanding guaranteed health care.

This resolution was passed through grassroots advocacy and public education, led by medical students and health professionals who know firsthand the degree to which our health care system is broken. That’s exactly how we’ll win Medicare for All in Congress. U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) should heed the calls of his constitutions and support the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act and the Medicare for All Act of 2019.