NEWARK, N.J. – The Newark City Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of a nationwide Medicare for All program yesterday, sending a strong message of support for ending for-profit health care in favor of a universal system without copays or out-of-pocket costs.
Newark is the 15th municipality in New Jersey to pass a resolution in support of Medicare for All. The effort is being organized by Our Revolution NJ.
The resolution comes after at least 31 municipalities and school boards informed the state government that they had chosen to use private health insurance plans for government workers, abandoning the New Jersey state health benefit plan following a 20% premium increase at the start of the year. The rate hike came on the heels of a rushed vote by the New Jersey Legislature to allow Horizon, the largest insurer in the state and state health plan provider, to restructure into a for-profit entity.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 20% of people under age 65 in Newark do not have health insurance.
“Medicare for All represents conscientious policy that is not based on zip code, class, economic status, etc. but is designed for everyone,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who championed the resolution. “Here in Newark, we make sure that the needs of our residents are at the forefront of our initiatives, policies, and legislation through an equitable lens. The passing of today’s resolution affirms our stance and makes clear: Newark will always work to advance the quality of life of its residents and having affordable and adequate healthcare is important to our community.”
“Medical debt represents a crushing weight on many families in our community. Deferring or skipping medical care due to the cost exacerbates the health impacts for individuals, creates higher costs down the road, and in some cases ends in a loved one gone far too soon. Medicare for All also represents a racial justice policy as uninsurance rates in Black and Hispanic communities outpace those of white populations. Here in New Jersey, we have the 47th worst Black maternal mortality rate in the country. Thank you to Mayor Ras Baraka and the Newark City Council for recognizing that Medicare for All is smart policy,” said Matt Dragon, co-chair of Our Revolution Essex County.
“It is absolutely reprehensible that the United States, the richest country in the world, does not have free universal health care when most of the other wealthy nations provide this benefit to their citizens. The People’s Organization For Progress (POP) commends the Newark City Council for passing the Medicare For All Resolution. The Resolution brings us one step closer to making Medicare for All a reality In the U.S. during our lifetime,” stated Lawrence Hamm, Chairman, People’s Organization For Progress.
“This resolution shows that the people of Newark stand strong in their support for universal healthcare and reminds us that municipal leaders see Medicare for All as a common-sense solution to the drain of insurance premiums on municipal budgets,” said Brittany Shannahan, an organizer with the Medicare For All campaign at Public Citizen. “Activists across New Jersey have worked hard to demonstrate the demand for Medicare for All in their state and applaud the support of U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (NJ-10) for federal Medicare for All legislation. Hopefully this latest victory in Newark will help persuade Rep. Menendez to join his colleague, Rep. Payne, in support of Medicare for All.”
Newark joins more than 100 other localities nationwide that have called for guaranteed health care for all – regardless of age, race, income, or zip code. Most recently, a proclamation passed in Boulder, Colo. in February, followed by a resolution in Cleveland, Ohio earlier this week.