City Council Approves Resolution Supporting Medicare for All

University Medical Center New Orleans. Photo by LittleT889, Wikimedia Creative Commons

On Thursday, May 7, 2020, the New Orleans City Council unanimously approved a resolution supporting the federal Medicare for All Act of 2019. The resolution also supports the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act, which would guarantee all U.S. residents full coverage for medical treatment with no out-of-pocket costs from now until a COVID-19 vaccine becomes widely publicly available.

“This pandemic painfully highlights the healthcare disparities that have existed for years, and has put a true spotlight on the systemic inequalities at the root of our healthcare system,” said Council president Jason Williams. “We must and we can do a better job for our people. It is in our best interest and the best interest for residents to remain healthy and to seek treatment when they’re not feeling well, pandemic or not. After the past several weeks, I think it is abundantly clear that the lack of health and health care of those around you has a direct and specific impact on your health – your physical health, and your fiscal health – and only comprehensive coverage can assure patients that no matter what condition is found to be causing their symptoms or what treatment is needed that they will be financially protected.”

Lousiana is one of the top 10 worst states in the nation for unpaid medical debt burdens in the United States. Nearly 30 percent of Louisiana residents carry unpaid medical debt, with an average of $697 per person. According to a 24/7 Wall Street report, 21.1 percent of Louisiana residents are in fair or poor health, and 8 percent of the state’s residents remain uninsured in spite of a state Medicare expansion.

“The United States is, in fact, the only large, wealthy nation in the world without universal health care,” Williams pointed out, noting that both insurance companies and the federal government have coordinated to pay the $40,000-$70,000 hospitalization costs some COVID-19 patients have faced.

“I think if there was ever a time when the entire country realized the need for taking care of everyone regardless of their socioeconomic status, this is it. I think that the federal government picked up the tab for hospitalizations for COVID-19 shows in fact that it can be done, and we need to push from every council office in every city in the country until we get it done,” Williams said.

Jenn Bentley is a freelance journalist based in New Orleans specializing in politics and social justice issues. In 2019, she was given the title of “Most Fearless” by The Bayou Brief. Follow her on Twitter: @JennBentley_

Help Keep Big Easy Magazine Alive

Hey guys!

Covid-19 is challenging the way we conduct business. As small businesses suffer economic losses, they aren’t able to spend money advertising.

Please donate today to help us sustain local independent journalism and allow us to continue to offer subscription-free coverage of progressive issues.

Thank you,
Scott Ploof
Big Easy Magazine

Share this Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *