NEWARK, NJ — On September 9, 2020, the Essex County Freeholder Board passed a resolution in support of the Medicare for All Act of 2019, and the Healthcare Emergency Guarantee Act of 2020. The resolution was initiated by Freeholder President Brendan Gill and Freeholder At-Large Patricia Sebold, sponsored by acclamation, and passed unanimously. Both bills are currently before the U.S. House of Representatives, and aim to provide comprehensive healthcare to all Americans. By adopting a resolution in support of these bills, the Board affirmed their belief that healthcare is a human right that should be guaranteed to all U.S. residents.

The Medicare for All Act of 2019, if signed into law, would improve and expand the current Medicare program, and give all Americans guaranteed access to healthcare with comprehensive benefits. The Healthcare Emergency Guarantee Act of 2020, introduced to address health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to pay the out-of-pocket expenses of all individuals receiving COVID-19 treatments. Specifically, the Act covers the costs for services provided to uninsured individuals, the out-of-pocket costs to individuals with public or private health insurance, as well as cost of prescription drugs and care related to COVID-19. The coverage would begin on the date of enactment of this bill, and last until a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available to the public.

“The Medicare for All Act and the Healthcare Emergency Act are much needed initiatives that this Board fully supports," Freeholder President Gill stated. "There are specific components of the both Acts that will directly affect Essex County residents in a positive way. Items such as the elimination of copays, the elimination of out-of-pocket costs, and the provision of COVID-19 related treatments for all uninsured Americans.” He continued, “These measures will save us money as a county, strengthen our healthcare systems, and protect our most valuable resource — our citizens in need of care. We thank our progressive allies in Congress for advocating on behalf of our residents in need of these services.”