STATE COLLEGE, PENN. – The State College Borough Council on Monday passed a resolution in support of a nationwide Medicare for All program. The resolution sends a strong message to Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation that the residents of State College are demanding an end to for-profit health care in favor of a universal system without copays or out-of-pocket costs.
Guaranteed health care is needed now more than ever. Pennsylvania has recorded 1.7 million cases of COVID-19, and more than 33,500 residents have died of the disease, with new worries as case counts rise once again amidst news of a new variant.
The pandemic further underscores the dangers of tying health insurance to employment as millions of Americans lost their health insurance along with their jobs during the worst health crisis in a century.
“As a nurse in the hospital, I had patients in their 20s who lost their sight due to complications from diabetes and patients in their 40s with kidney failure who couldn’t afford our healthcare system,” said State College Councilmember Katherine Yeaple, who championed the resolution. “A lot of middlemen are profiting from the status quo, while people suffer. Business groups are recognizing the inefficiencies of our current system. The movement is growing across the nation in support of the Medicare for All bills in the House and Senate, and the time is ripe for change.”
“As bedside caregivers on the frontlines, we understand firsthand how critically important access to affordable, quality healthcare is for all Pennsylvanians,” said Aaron Troisi, lead political organizer with SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the largest union of healthcare workers in the state, representing nursing home, home care, and hospital staff members, including at Mount Nittany Medical Center. “Health care is a human right, and no one should suffer or be denied access to care simply because of the size of their wallet. All caregivers, our patients, and our friends and families deserve better health care access and improved quality of care in our communities. We hope this resolution is a first step to transforming our healthcare system and to putting the needs of patients and residents first.”
State College joins a growing number of more than 80 cities and municipalities across the country — including Pennsylvania municipalities of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Bethlehem, and Easton — that are calling for guaranteed health care for all, regardless of age, race, income, or zip code.
“Cities across Pennsylvania like State College are leading the way in demanding that Congress enact a Medicare for All system which would be far more humane, equitable, and cost-effective than the current profit-driven system,” said Melinda St. Louis, a Penn State alum who directs Public Citizen’s Medicare for All campaign that has supported dozens of similar efforts around the country. “The time has come for all of Pennsylvania’s representatives and senators to respond to the will of their constituents and cosponsor Medicare for All legislation.”