Stamford Board of Representatives Endorses Medicare For All, Urges Action From Congress
On the evening of Wednesday, November 3, 2021, the Stamford Board of Representatives approved a resolution in support of Medicare for All by a vote of 25–6, with 3 abstaining. The resolution calls on federal lawmakers to support single-payer, universal health care legislation — namely U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s H.R. 1979, the Medicare For All Act of 2021.
“Healthcare is a human right, and no one can be truly free without it,” said Stamford Board of Representatives member Selina Policar (D-12). “Uncertainty about one’s ability to afford care shouldn’t be what makes someone decide against a life-saving doctor’s visit, procedure, or medication. You aren’t free if you can’t get access to the care you need.”
The resolution states that “high quality health care is a human right for every person in Stamford,” and cites the rising costs of private health insurance for individuals, municipalities, and businesses in offering “enthusiastic support” for Medicare for All, which studies have shown would cut health care costs, increase accessibility of care, and improve patient choice by eliminating the bureaucracy associated with private insurance. The resolution also includes a clause that, when enacted, it should be delivered to members of Stamford’s congressional delegation, U.S. Representative Jim Himes and U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy.
“Why are healthcare costs so expensive? The answer is ‘monopolies,’” said Board of Representative member Megan Cottrell (D-4), who helped introduce the resolution. “There are monopolies in private insurance, the pharmaceutical industry, doctor’s groups, physicians’ groups, and medical device companies. We have two choices: 1) We can simply break up the monopolies in order to lower prices, but then we’d still leave many uninsured. 2) We can go to a single-payer, Medicare for All system and the government can act as a countervailing force pressuring prices down. It is better to opt for the second option because then no one is left behind.”
She added: “Our municipal budgets are extremely burdened by healthcare costs. Even after switching most of our bargaining units to the state partnership plan, generating temporary savings, healthcare costs have quickly climbed up again, rising at a faster pace than most other budget line items. Going to a Medicare for all system could save 13% by reducing both administrative and pharmaceutical costs. This translates to about $8.5 million in savings for costs related to active employees in Stamford alone.”
Multiple Stamford residents spoke or submitted written testimony in favor of the resolution, including former Congressional candidate Brian Merlen. “As a cancer survivor this issue is incredibly important to me,” said Merlen. “We need to do better for those who are struggling in our country. This resolution shows that Congress must act when it comes to Medicare for All.”
The resolution also calls on Hartford lawmakers to join states such as Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York in working towards state-level universal health care legislation.
With this resolution, Stamford joins New Haven, Windham, and New London, Connecticut, along with more than 75 municipalities across the country.
“Connecticut municipal governments like Stamford and New Haven are showing themselves to be national leaders in demanding guaranteed health care for everyone living in this country,” said Melinda St. Louis, campaign director for Public Citizen’s Medicare for All campaign, which has supported local organizers around the country in passing Medicare for All resolutions. “It is encouraging that Senator Blumenthal and Representative Jahana Hayes have heeded their call by cosponsoring the Medicare for All Act. We hope the rest of the Connecticut congressional delegation, including Rep. Himes will also show their commitment to the health of their constituents by joining them.”
Read the full text of the resolution below:
PS30.057 RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF MEDICARE FOR ALL
Whereas, high quality health care is a human right for every person in Stamford; and
Whereas, the $3.5 trillion U.S. multi-payer system is the most expensive in the world, yet has left nearly 30 million Americans without health insurance and over 40 million underinsured; and
Whereas, the rising costs of health care are straining both our limited municipal budget and the small businesses which are integral to our community’s well-being; and
Whereas, H.R. 1979 the Medicare for All Act of 2021 would provide universal single-payer health insurance for every person in the United States for all necessary medical care including prescription drugs; hospital, surgical and outpatient services; primary and preventive care; emergency services; reproductive care; dental and vision care; and long-term care; and
Whereas, Medicare for All would provide coverage without copays, deductibles or other out-of-pocket costs, and would slash bureaucracy, protect the doctor-patient relationship, and assure patients an unrestricted choice of doctors; and
Whereas, adoption of H.R. 1979 the Medicare for All Act of 2021 would guarantee that all residents of Stamford will be fully covered for health care and would save a fortune in taxpayer dollars now spent on ever-rising premiums that provide inadequate health insurance coverage; and
Whereas, the quality of life for the residents of Stamford will vastly improve because they would be able to get the ongoing care they need, instead of waiting until they have a medical emergency that could upend their lives as well as further burden local resources;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the City of Stamford Board of Representatives enthusiastically supports Medicare for All and calls on our federal legislators to work toward enactment of H.R. 1979 the Medicare for All Act of 2021, that will assure appropriate and efficient health care for all residents.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Stamford Board of Representatives expresses its enthusiastic support for a state-level single payer system in Connecticut, H.B. 5340, similar to legislation which already exists in neighboring states — Rhode Island (H.5611 Comprehensive Health Insurance Program), Massachusetts (H.1194 An Act Establishing Medicare for All in Massachusetts) and New York (A.5248 New York Health Act) — and calls on our state legislators to work toward the immediate introduction of similar legislation and the enactment of such legislation to guarantee healthcare to all Connecticut residents.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution, when enacted, be delivered to members of the Connecticut congressional delegation, U.S. Representative Jim Himes, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, as well as Stamford’s delegation to the Connecticut legislature.