MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Last night the Maplewood Township Committee passed a resolution in support of Medicare for All, and in doing so became the first governing body in Essex County to show official support for the bill; it is also only the second town in New Jersey to adopt such a resolution behind Toms River, according to Deputy Mayor Dean Dafis.

Dafis introduced the resolution with some background. “It's important for the public to know why we're moving these resolutions,” he said during the meeting. “There's no doubt that the pandemic has exposed the ever deepening fault line in our nation between the haves and have nots. Perhaps nowhere is that more pervasive than in access to health care.” 

Before the pandemic, he said, “we had nearly 30 million uninsured in our country. With choking widespread unemployment, when most folks are insured by their employers, this number is sure to double by many estimates out there. And for those who were already in debt due to medical bills, the bankruptcy cliff is coming. Home foreclosures and evictions to follow.

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“The federal government understands this. We're seeing bipartisan support that at least provides everyone the opportunity to access to care. That is what Medicare for all does. We saw the federal government, for instance, swoop in after the pandemic with the CARES Act to, among other things, provide free access to testing for COVID-19 to all, regardless of their ability to pay, regardless of their citizenship status. It took a global pandemic for us to realize that access to care for all is the answer.”

The resolution, the text of which follows, was passed unanimously. 

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE MEDICARE FOR ALL ACT OF 2019 AND, SPECIFIC TO THE PANDEMIC, THE HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY GUARANTEE ACT OF 2020 (H.R.1384 & H.R. 6906)

WHEREAS, every person in Maplewood Township, Essex County deserves high quality health care and everyone’s health is at risk when our neighbors cannot receive care; and 

WHEREAS, the number of Americans without health insurance pre-Covid was nearly 30 million with about 50 million Americans remaining underinsured despite the important gains made by The Affordable Care Act; and 

WHEREAS, the Covid-19 pandemic will greatly increase the number of Americans without health insurance due to unemployment, most notably disproportionately impacting our Black and Brown neighbors; and 

WHEREAS, without new strategies, the never-ending rising costs of health care further challenge our already strapped municipal and state budgets and our small businesses that keep our communities thriving; and 

WHEREAS the Medicare for All Act of 2019 (H.R. 1384 / S.1129) would provide national health insurance for every person in the United States for all necessary medical care including diagnostic (e.g., virus) testing; prescription drugs; hospital, surgical and outpatient services; primary and preventive care; emergency services; women’s reproductive care; dental and vision care; and long-term care; and 

WHEREAS the Medicare for All Act of 2019 would provide coverage without copays, deductibles or other out-of-pocket costs, and would slash bureaucracy, protect the doctor-patient relationship and assure patients a free choice of doctors; and 

WHEREAS, the Medicare for All Act of 2019 will guarantee that all residents of Maplewood Township will be fully covered for health care without copays, deductibles or other out-of-pocket costs, and would save millions in taxpayer dollars now spent on premiums that provide often inadequate health insurance coverage for government employees; and

WHEREAS millions of Americans with insurance have coverage so inadequate that a major illness would lead to financial ruin, and medical illness and bills contribute to two-thirds of all bankruptcies; and

WHEREAS managed care and other market-based reforms have failed to contain health care costs; and

WHEREAS, the existence of thousands of public and private insurance providers and regulators has resulted in extraordinarily complex health care business procedures that consume almost one-third of our nation’s expenditures for health care; 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 administration costs of less than 5 percent; and

WHEREAS, rationing health care according to ability to pay has diminished the overall health of our citizens to the point that the United States ranks last among industrialized nations in health outcomes and as many as 30,000 people in the United States die each year due to inadequate health care; and

WHEREAS numerous academic studies have concluded that the administrative savings under a single-payer, Medicare for All system would be enough to cover the currently uninsured and improve coverage for all those who now have only partial coverage; and

WHEREAS, the Healthcare Emergency Guarantee Act of 2020 (H.R. 6906 / S.3790) will cover, through Medicare, the costs of Covid-19 related treatment for uninsured Americans as well as all out-of-pocket costs for those with private or public insurance throughout the duration of the pandemic; and

WHEREAS, the quality of life for the residents of Maplewood Township in Essex County, will vastly improve because everyone would be able to get preventative and ongoing care, when they need it to keep themselves and their neighbors healthy and avoid further burdening local resources; 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maplewood Township Committee affirms that healthcare is a human right that should be guaranteed to all U.S. residents; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Maplewood Township Committee endorses H.R. 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019 that will expand health coverage and health security, eliminate health disparities, and lower health care costs for all of our community residents, and H.R. 6906, the Healthcare Emergency Guarantee Act of 2020 that through Medicare will cover Covid-19 related treatment for uninsured Americans; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Maplewood Township will notify our federal representatives of these endorsements and urge them to cosponsor these bills and work toward their immediate enactment, assuring appropriate and efficient health care for all residents of the United States; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Maplewood Township encourages all of our residents to contact their member of Congress and other elected representatives to encourage them to cosponsor this critical legislation.

After the meeting, Dafis emailed TAPinto SOMA with other words of support: “It is our duty — we who are most intimately familiar with our communities — to support efforts that ensure the health and wellness of our neighbors, street by street, to ensure that comprehensive, less costly and uniform access is provided while preserving freedom of choice. Only Medicare for All can do that. Only Medicare for All will guarantee that Black and Brown Lives Matter. Only Medicare for All doesn't care how much you make, which state you live in, whether you have an Affordable Care Act health exchange, or who is appointed to the Supreme Court.

“This is bipartisan, this is popular, this is no longer radical, this is truly affordable, this is necessary, this is RIGHT, this is NOW."

 

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