WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a show of growing momentum behind passing Medicare for All legislation, Denver, Colorado, Gainesville, Florida, and Kent, Ohio all passed city council resolutions in recent days backing a nationwide universal healthcare program, sending a strong signal to Congress that their constituents care about ending for-profit healthcare.
The three cities join more than 100 localities that have endorsed Medicare for All.
During the pandemic, more than one million Coloradans – including 34% of those in Denver – saw their incomes reduced; many lost their job-based insurance, and people of color were hit hardest, according to the Colorado Health Institute’s 2021 Health Access Survey. In Denver County, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 12% of residents under 65 are uninsured.
Denver City Councilman Chris Hinds, who suffered a paralyzing car accident in 2008, introduced the motion there. He noted that private insurance does not protect Denver families from high costs of care. “I went from being a runner and someone who played on three soccer teams to racking up $1 million in health care bills in three months,” said Hinds. “The majority of people who declare bankruptcy, it’s because of medical bills, and of those, the majority have insurance.”
In Ohio’s 13th district, where Kent is located, more than 43,000 people are uninsured, and over 117,000 people live below the poverty threshold. Kent Councilwoman Heidi Schaffer-Bish works with Coleman Health Services and encounters many people struggling to make ends meet when it comes to healthcare. “We’ve seen that government-based healthcare works, and private insurance through your employer does not,” said Shaffer-Bish.
In Alachua County, where Gainesville is located, the U.S. Census Bureau notes that 11.5% of people under the age of 65 are uninsured.
“Healthcare is a basic human right. There is a minimal standard of care that all humans are entitled to and should receive,” said Commissioner Reina Saco, sponsor of the resolution in Gainesville. “No one should suffer, physically or financially, because they can’t pay the cost of a doctor’s visit to get simple antibiotics or to set a broken bone.”
“As people face higher prices at the grocery store, the gas tank, and the pharmacy, the movement for universal healthcare is growing louder,” says Brittany Shannahan, Medicare For All organizer at Public Citizen. “These resolutions, city-by-city, are helping to pressure our representatives to act to make guaranteed healthcare for all a reality. The chorus of voices is growing.”