Open Letter To City Council

We write on behalf of the people of Philadelphia to urge you to pass resolution 180251 in support of S. 1804, otherwise known as the Medicare-For-All Act.

From: The Philadelphia Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America in Coalition with the Undersigned.

March 2018,

We write on behalf of the people of Philadelphia to urge you to pass resolution 180251 in support of S. 1804, otherwise known as the Medicare-For-All Act. A federally run, single-payer, Medicare for All program would dramatically improve and lengthen the lives of working people no matter their occupation, income, race, color, creed or neighborhood.

 

Introduced on the Senate floor in September 2017, the program is widely popular among public and private sector workers, students, retirees, health care providers and their patients across the country. We have seen first hand on our canvasses throughout our city –– from working class neighborhoods in South Philly, to the Baltimore Avenue corridor and up to Kensington –– Philadelphians want and need Medicare for All.  And just recently, a Harvard-Harris poll showed that a majority of Americans support single-payer healthcare.

 

Philadelphia is a working class city. Despite growth in the education, medical, and research sectors of our local economy, most Philly residents are struggling to afford their rising premiums, the high cost of prescription drugs and their increasing co-payments.

 

The good news is the solution to our current healthcare crisis is already available. Our country does not lack the technological capacity, the economic base or the medical expertise necessary to make our healthcare system universal, comprehensive, and free at the point of service. We merely lack the political will.

 

Supporting S. 1804 would demonstrate that Philadelphia has the political conviction to stand up to the moneyed elite on Wall Street, the major pharmaceutical companies and insurance industry titans in order to deliver healthcare solutions that benefit the needs of the many and not the profits of the few. Your support would also demonstrate the kind of political leadership we need at the national level. In particular, your support would show Senator Bob Casey it's time for him to join the Philadelphia congressional delegation in supporting a single-payer Medicare-for-All program.

 

Medicare for All is a simple idea. The program represents a robust vision for a health care system that works for everyone and not just the wealthy. It’s a vision based on five simple principles:

 

1) A single health insurance program - not a patchwork

2) Free at the point of service, devoid of any copays, premiums, deductibles, or cost-sharing

3) Comprehensive coverage of medical, dental, visual, and reproductive health

4) Universal coverage of everyone residing in the United States, regardless of citizenship status, criminal history, or any other traditional barriers to quality of life

5) A jobs program to make for a just transition for workers in the insurance industry to train for new jobs to tackle our problems in the future.

 

The bill itself would expand and improve the existing Medicare program to cover all residents. And after a phase-in period, private health insurance would be wound down. Funded by a payroll tax, and with the provision of establishing a congressionally managed national healthcare budget, this bill would save working Americans a great deal of money. By replacing high and unpredictable health insurance premiums with a low and stable tax, working people would see a major increase in their take-home pay. On top of this, a federally funded single-payer Medicare for All system would save the city of Philadelphia billions in employee health care costs. Not to mention that the reduced cost for patients would reverse our declining health outcomes.

 

City Council  resolved to support a single-payer healthcare bill in 2009, during the deliberation for that vote, a fact sheet circulated showing that the city would save over $500 million per year. Such a sweeping national policy would save the city even more money in 2018, and that means more money for our public services like our locally controlled schools, SEPTA, and infrastructure.

 

Council, as it has done in the past, needs to support Medicare for All. The state of healthcare in the US has only become worse since 2009, and with the unraveling of the ACA, the only viable option is one that put patients before profits. Your constituents pay attention to what you do and showing them that you’re behind them and attentive to the needs that shape their daily lives is both morally just and politically expedient. As Democratic primaries heat up across the country, solving the healthcare crisis remains a top priority for most voters and Medicare for All is the most popular solution.

 

The time has come again for City Council to show workers in this city and around the country that you stand with them and not the health insurance oligarchs. The Philadelphia Democratic Socialists of America and the undersigned organizations urge you to support S. 1804 and to do everything in your power to help pass Medicare for All.

Organization Co-Signers

350 Philadelphia
Healthcare for All PA 
Media Mobilizing Project 
Temple University Graduate Students Association 
PASNAP
Pennsylvania Federation BMWED-Teamsters 
Philadelphia Socialist Alternative
POWER
Reclaim Philadelphia
Restaurant Opportunities Center  
Southwest Philadelphia Healthcare Rights Committee of Put People First! PA 
Students for a National Health Plan 
UNITE HERE Local 276
Caucus of Working Educators

 

If your organization is interested in signing on in support of this resolution and Medicare for All, please contact philly dsa at phillydsa@gmail.com

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