U.S. Conference of Mayors Backs Single-Payer National Health Insurance

The U.S. Conference of Mayors, meeting in Miami, adopted a resolution this morning in support of single-payer national health insurance.

The assembly, in unanimous vote, backed a resolution calling for the enactment of the "United States National Health Insurance Act," H.R. 676. The bill, which is also known as the "Improved and Expanded Medicare for All Act," is sponsored by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan and 90 other members of Congress.

"This is a major achievement, a qualitative change in the movement for genuine health care reform," said Dr. David Prensky, a retired dentist from Palm Beach, Fla., who helped promote the resolution. Prensky is a member of the Chicago-based Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP).

"It shows that our country's mayors now support the kind of approach that every other industrialized country has - an approach that guarantees health care for everyone at an affordable cost," he said.

"Mayors, in a very real sense, are closer to the people than most elected officials," Prensky continued. "They are closer to the grassroots, where their communities and constituents are suffering. Meanwhile their city budgets are being shattered by health costs for their own employees."

Conyers' bill would guarantee everyone care for all medically necessary services, contain costs by slashing the administrative waste and bureaucracy associated with the private insurance industry and assure patients their choice of doctor and hospital.

The resolution was introduced by Mayor Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach, Fla., and six other mayors from Baltimore to Santa Cruz, Calif. Frankel worked in cooperation with the statewide advocacy group Floridians for Health Care and the national group Healthcare-Now.

"By taking this action," said Dr. Quentin Young, national coordinator of PNHP, "the mayors have put, in the boldest way, single-payer national health insurance on top of the domestic agenda, squarely in the middle of the legislative and presidential elections."

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is a nonpartisan organization of mayors representing cities with a population of 30,000 or more. It currently has about 1,100 members.