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Denton, Texas Adopts Resolution Supporting Medicare for All

Denton, Texas City Council passed a resolution approving federal Medicare for All legislation, the 100th local government to do so as millions across the United States face rising insurance premiums, skyrocketing drug costs, and impending loss of coverage.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who introduced the latest version of his Medicare for All legislation, applauded lawmakers from Denton, the progressive advocacy group Public Citizen and others involved in the creating support for the non-binding resolution, which endorses the single-payer bill introduced by representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) in March 2021.

“A system that treats health care as a right, not a commodity, will improve the health outcomes of our community.”

“At a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has claimed more than a million lives, a third of these deaths have been linked to a lack of health insurance, the need to ensure health care for all as a right through Medicare for all, The single payment system has never been more evident, “Sanders said Wednesday.

“The way we’re going to pass Medicare for everyone,” Sanders added, “is to continue to build a strong grassroots movement that is ready to take on big monetary interests and end the greed of private health insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry. “.

Jayapal, chairman of the Progressive Caucus in Congress, also welcomed the adoption of the resolution as an illustration of the “growing momentum behind Medicare for All,” though the short-term prospects for approval in the House and in the Senate they are still scarce.

“In a grueling pandemic that has claimed a million lives in our country and left millions more without health insurance, people in cities large and small understand that health care should not be tied to a job “It should be affordable, accessible and universal,” Jayapal said. “I am delighted to see Denton’s support for Medicare for All and will continue to fight for universal health care to become the law of the land.”

Tuesday’s vote made Denton the first Texas municipality to pass a resolution endorsing Medicare for All, joining dozens of other cities across the country, from St. Louis, Missouri to Tucson, Arizona to in Washington, DC.

Denton City Councilwoman Alison Maguire said Wednesday that “a system that treats health care as a right, not a commodity, will improve the health outcomes of our community, alleviate the financial burdens of class residents. and would cut as much as $ 23,462,000 from Denton City’s annual budget for employee benefits, saving local taxpayers money. ”

“In light of all this,” Maguire continued, “I fully agree that it is appropriate for Denton City Council to express our support for Medicare for All at the federal level.”

Denton, TX is also the 100th municipality to pass the nationwide resolution.

It is very clear that people want Medicare for everyone.

Denton’s vote came as health advocates across the country are stepping up pressure on Congress to expand Medicare and protect the existing program from a privatization scheme launched during the Trump administration that continued , with slight tweaks and a different name, under President Joe Biden.

Under the Biden administration’s ACO REACH program, which will formally begin in January 2023, the federal government will pay private intermediaries, such as privately owned investors, a fee to cover a specified portion of traditional care. of Medicare patients. Intermediaries will then be free to pocket the rest as benefits and overheads, which could encourage them to skimp on patient spending.

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), a group that has been organizing opposition to ACO REACH and its Trump-era predecessor for months, has warned that traditional Medicare beneficiaries will automatically enroll in ACO REACH without your consent.

“Once enrolled,” the group said in February, “patients cannot be discharged … unless they change primary care provider.”

The Medicare privatization effort has outraged dozens of lawmakers in the House and Senate and at the local level. Last month, the 4,000-member Arizona Medical Association and Seattle City Council passed resolutions opposing ACO REACH and the Trump-era direct recruitment program.

“Public health advocates across the country see little difference between ACO REACH and the direct recruitment pilot, as both pilot programs allow private third-party entities to intercede between patients and their healthcare providers. and reduce the Medicare trust fund by making big profits, in a number of ways, including weakening services for Medicare beneficiaries, “said the Seattle resolution, which was passed unanimously.

“The City Council opposes the privatization of the Medicare system, favors the completion of the pilot program ACO REACH, Responsible Care Organization, Realization of Equity, Access and Community Health, and favors closing the door to third parties to the Medicare system “, the resolution. keep on.

On May 23, PNHP is hosting a webinar to highlight the threat that ACO REACH poses to traditional Medicare and push the Biden administration to completely end the program.

“The only way to stop REACH,” PNHP argued in a Twitter post announcing the event, “is with a committed and sustained grassroots movement.”

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