Denton recently became the first city in Texas and the 100th city in the nation to pass a resolution supporting Medicare for All.
The local resolution does not change any laws, but aims to build support for a single-payer health care system.
Denton City Council member Alison Maguire, who supported the resolution, said the federal policy would improve Denton’s health and ease the financial burden on residents and the city.
Maguire estimates Medicare for All could cut as much as $23,462,000 from the city’s annual budget by saving on employee benefits.
“In light of all of this, I fully agree that it is appropriate for Denton City Council to express our support for Medicare for All at the federal level,” Maguire said.
The organizers behind the local resolution say the aim is to continue building a grassroots movement for Medicare for All.
“We think it’s about building power at the local level, saying we also have a voice, and the state of Texas doesn’t represent all of us,” Sean Kirk, regional organizer for Medicare for All, Democratic Socialists of the North Sean Kirkpatrick speaks Texas.
To get the city council on board, Kirkpatrick said, organizers focused on considering budget arguments for Medicare for All, such as the money the city would save through federal policy.
“It’s public taxpayer money and it goes directly to the private sector, making the CEOs of health insurers very rich and then letting them decide which doctors people can see and which services are approved for people who are sick and trying to get treatment. , and Medicare for All would remove that middleman,” Kirkpatrick said.
“We have a system that we’re all paying for, which is very inefficient, it’s just inherently exacerbating income inequality, and taxpayer money is subsidizing very powerful companies,” Kirkpatrick said.
The DSA chapter was assisted by Public Citizen, who helped write the resolution and prepared for the opposition organizers might face.
The nonprofit consumer advocacy group Ralph Nader founded helped organizers in other cities across the country pass similar resolutions.
A similar strategy has been deployed over the past decade to pass hundreds of local resolutions, said Brittany Shannahan, organizer of Medicare for All for Public Citizens. support Overthrow of Citizens United.
“It’s a really good way to build a grassroots movement for a federal bill, which is really difficult for people in communities whose federal representatives are already on the bill or who can’t be reached on this issue for any reason, ‘ said Shannahan.
Shannahan said councils often focus on basic budget issues that Medicare for All can help with, such as pension plans.She was referring to the city of Detroit, which declared bankruptcy in 2013 and eventually went bankrupt cut Retirement health insurance benefits increased from $4.3 billion to $450 million.
“So cities every few years, they reassemble a team and hire an expert from a consulting firm to help them renegotiate their workforce plans, and often that involves finding ways to pass more costs on to employees,” he said. Shanahan said.
Cities can also save money on public hospitals, where local governments pay for medical care for uninsured patients.
“Many cities have their own ambulance services, so if someone doesn’t pay for an ambulance, the city will pay for it,” Shannahan said.
Organizers are trying to pass a similar resolution in support of Medicare for All in counties and cities across the state, including Tarrant and Harris counties.
In a statement praising Denton, Washington Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, the lead sponsor of the Medicare for All Act, said the resolution showed the growing momentum behind federal policy.
Jayapal said: “In a severe pandemic that has killed a million people in our country and millions without health insurance, people in cities big and small understand that health care should not be tied to jobs. Hook up.” “It should be affordable, accessible and universal. I am delighted to see Denton’s support for Medicare for All and will continue to work to ensure Medicare for All is the law of the land.”
Photo: Michael M Stokes/Wikimedia Commons