The U.S. Conference of Mayors today adopted a resolution sponsored by West Palm Beach, Florida Mayor, Lois Frankel, endorsing the passage of H.R. 676, The National Health Insurance Act, Michigan Congressman John Conyers’ bill which expands and improves the Medicare system to cover everyone in the United States under a single-payer national health insurance system. HR 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.
Frankel’s Resolution was co-sponsored by Mayor Wayne J. Hall, Sr., Hempstead, New York; Mayor Carolyn K. Peterson, Ithaca, New York; Mayor John E. Marks, III, Tallahassee, Florida, Mayor Sheila Dixon, Baltimore, Maryland; Mayor Becky Tooley, Coconut Creek and Mayor Ryan Coonerty, Santa Cruz, California.
Mayor Frankel, in association with Floridians for Health Care, Inc., a Palm Beach County based health care advocacy group headed by Rick Ford, local attorney and candidate for Florida State Representative, District 83, and aided by Healthcare-NOW, a national advocacy organization assisting local citizens with their efforts to win endorsements for H.R. 676 from cities, towns, counties and school districts all over the country, have been lobbying Mayors for several weeks to educate them about the resolution and seek their support.
Ford, along with FFHC Board member and Mayors Project Coordinator, Alison Landes, and Boca Raton dermatologist, Dr. Brent Schillinger, attended the Mayors Conference in Miami this past weekend to present the benefits of how a single payer medicare-for-all system would save cities and towns billions of dollars in employee healthcare costs in these hard economic times.
Rising healthcare costs have drained local and state budgets of the resources they need to rebuild, renovate and restore the vitality of their communities. Increasing health benefits costs – averaging 11% a year for cities since 1999 – consume city and county budgets, leaving more and more residents uninsured. Currently, 48 million Americans lack health insurance.
With state and local coffers bleeding, residents face cuts in needed services such as police and fire protection, medical services for the uninsured, road repairs, parks and recreation. HR 676 would save money and control costs by replacing the multiple public and private payers with a single national health insurance program. The national program would negotiate fees with providers, purchase drugs and medical supplies in bulk, and monitor budgets and capital plans for hospitals and other medical facilities. It minimizes risk by combining the whole US population into one large pool of over 300 million people. It would eliminate private insurance, which eats up 30% of every healthcare dollar in profits, marketing and administration. Medicare operates on less that 5% overhead.
Mayor Frankel’s resolution was first considered by the Mayors Conference Standing Committee on Children, Health and Human Services, which approved the resolution unanimously on Saturday and presented the resolution for adoption by the entire Conference at its plenary session on Monday, June 23, 2008. The measure was adopted overwhelmingly by the full Conference.
Finding that HR 676 would guarantee every mayor that all residents and employees of his/her city would be fully covered for healthcare and save billions of taxpayer dollars now spent on premiums to provide less than full health insurance coverage for government employees, the Mayors
“RESOLVED that the U.S. Conference of Mayors expresses its support for The US National Health Insurance Act (HR 676), and calls upon federal legislators to work towards its immediate enactment and further urges the adoption of a process to insure that healthcare providers justify any increase in health care costs.”