Medicare for All
This being somewhat early in the year, it is appropriate to make resolutions that specify our good intentions to improve ourselves in the coming year. We make them for ourselves and we can make them for our city, county, state, and the federal governments. Resolutions, in a political sense express the official intentions or will of a legislative body to improve circumstances for our citizens.
The practice of submitting and voting on resolutions is a typical part of business in congress, state legislatures, and other public governance assemblies. Resolutions are not laws; they differ fundamentally in their purpose. They are used for two purposes. First, resolutions express their consensus of opinion on matters of public policy: lawmakers routinely deliver criticism or support on a broad range of social issues, legal rights, court opinions, and even decisions by the other executive branches of government. Second, they pass resolutions for internal, administrative purposes. (https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/resolution)
Support for House Resolution 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019 introduced by Pramila Jayapal is increasing in the House of Representatives and now has 119 co-sponsors. This is a good level of support but leadership in the House and Senate is slow to recognize the value of Medicare for all to our society and social fabric. Therefore an effort at the grassroots level is necessary. If local cities, counties and states lead the effort from the ground up then a case can be made at the national level to support Medicare for All. About 80 cities, large and small, across the country have passed resolutions that support single payer healthcare proposals such as Medicare for all. Efforts in another 190 cities are underway as they are here in Hemet. Cities such as Los Angeles and Bethlehem, PA see the benefits to their communities.
As time goes by, more and more legislatures at all levels will face the ever increasing burden of having to pay private healthcare costs for their city employees. For cities, when healthcare is based on a single-payer system of coverage, the health of firefighters, police and retirees will reduce their budgetary costs and the money saved can be spent on other needs of the community. Savings would also result by eliminating lawsuits for personal injuries and workman’s compensation cases. All these expenses would drop from the city budget.
For a case in point, we can look to the example of the Hemet Unified School District. The cost for private insurance for Hemet teachers increased by a minimum of 6.85% this year. That is well above the cost of living increase received as a part of their pay packages. Teacher and clerical staff insurance costs could be diverted from this expense to hire more teachers to reduce class sizes and increase classroom technology.
Preventive or anticipatory medicine helps us all. Unhealthy individuals make for unhealthy communities. To quote a frequent contributor to this space, Dick Gale, “I benefit when you are in good health”. So instead of waiting or deferring medical attention to their health problems, Medicare for All would allow individuals to get the medical assistance they need before an illness becomes a problem for them and for others. Lately, I have been suggesting to the city council that they support M4A by passing a resolution that affirms their support for a public-option healthcare system.
To elaborate upon the financial benefits to our city and the community at large, the savings from Medicare for All could provide healthier city budgets and financial security of our citizens. While Medicare 4 All would make the city budget more predictable, the same would be true for the personal budgets of our citizens. No more high medical costs, high drugs costs, nor catastrophic medical expenses. The financial security of the city and its citizens would be improved. Why do I and others promote Medicare 4 All? Because I want everyone to know that Hemet cares about each one of its citizens.