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.
Text of Resolution adopted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, June 23:
Resolution in support of the United States National Health Insurance Act, H.R. 676
The Honorable Lois J. Frankel, Mayor of West Palm Beach, Fla.
The Honorable Wayne J. Hall Sr., Mayor of Mayor of Hempstead, N.Y.
The Honorable Carolyn K. Peterson, Mayor of Ithaca, N.Y.
The Honorable John E. Marks, III, Mayor of Tallahassee, Fla.
The Honorable Sheila Dixon, Mayor of Baltimore, Md.
The Honorable Becky Tooley, Mayor of Coconut Creek, Fla.
The Honorable Ryan Coonerty, Mayor of Santa Cruz, Calif.
WHEREAS, every person deserves access to affordable quality health care; and
WHEREAS, the number of Americans without health insurance now exceeds 47 million; and
WHEREAS, millions with insurance have coverage so inadequate that a major illness would lead to financial ruin, and medical illness and bills contribute to one-half of all bankruptcies; and
WHEREAS, proposals for “consumer directed health care” such as Health Savings Accounts or Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) would only worsen this situation by penalizing the sick, discouraging prevention and saddling many working families with huge medical bills; and
WHEREAS, managed care and other market-based reforms have failed to contain health care costs, which now threaten the international competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers; and
WHEREAS, administrative waste stemming from our reliance on private insurers consumes one-third of private health spending while the single payer Medicare system has administrative costs of less than 5 percent; and
WHEREAS, U.S. hospitals spend 24.3 percent of their budgets on billing and administration while hospitals under Canada’s single payer system spend only 12.9 percent; and
WHEREAS, Harvard researchers estimate that more than $300 billion could be recovered by replacing private insurance companies with a single public payer, enough to cover the uninsured and to improve coverage for all those who now have only partial coverage; and
WHEREAS, entrusting care to profit-oriented firms diverts billions of dollars to outrageous incomes for CEOs and threatens the quality of care; and
WHEREAS, The United States National Health Insurance Act (H.R. 676) would assure universal coverage of all medically necessary services, contain costs by slashing bureaucracy, protect the doctor patient relationship, assure patients a completely free choice of doctors, and allow physicians a free choice of practice settings; and
WHEREAS, most polls show that the majority of Americans support universal health care; and
WHEREAS, as of the date of this resolution, the majority of American physicians (59 percent) believe that Single Payer is the best method of securing universal health care; and
WHEREAS, The United States National Health Insurance Act (H.R. 676) will guarantee every mayor that all residents and employees of his/her city will be fully covered for health care and save millions of taxpayer dollars now spent on premiums to provide less than full health insurance coverage for government employees; and
BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors expresses its support for The United States National Health Insurance Act (H.R. 676), and calls upon federal legislators to work towards its immediate enactment and further urges the adoption of a process to insure that health care providers justify any increase in health care costs.