Springfield City Council Endorses Massachusetts Single-Payer Healthcare Bill

The Springfield City Council on Monday passed a resolution in support of Massachusetts House Bill 1194 and Massachusetts Senate Bill 683, an Act Establishing Medicare for All in Massachusetts.

The state legislation would establish the Massachusetts Health Care Trust, funded through a payroll tax that is less costly to Massachusetts residents than their current premiums, deductibles, and co-pays, while covering all necessary preventive care and medical treatment, enabling people to see their current - or any - in-state provider for health care and providing for out-of-state emergency care, ensuring health decisions are made between patients and their health care providers, not insurance adjusters.

The resolution was introduced by At-Large City Councilor Jesse Lederman and Co-Sponsored by City Councilors Adam Gomez, Marcus Williams, Orlando Ramos, Victor Davila, Tracye Whitfield, and Malo Brown.

“The health of our families and neighbors should never have to be bartered. It is time we stop treating access to healthcare as a privilege, and come together to recognize healthcare as the human right that it is,” said Councilor Lederman, “I am glad that our City Council has joined the ranks of those urging our state legislature to act boldly on healthcare reform, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the inequities and gaps in our current system.”

“This resolution sends a message to beacon hill that meaningful healthcare reform must be on the agenda,” said Ward 1 City Councilor and State Senator-elect Adam Gomez.

State Representative Lindsay Sabadosa is the lead sponsor of the legislation in the House of Representatives. She testified before the City Council on Monday.

“The wave of resolutions in support of Medicare for All across the state indicate that municipal budgets are straining from increased health costs,” said Representative Sabadosa, “In a year where there has been a decline in health spending but we are still facing 8% increase in premiums, people in Massachusetts are waking up to the fact that care is becoming less and less affordable right when we need it most.”

Also testifying in support of the resolution was Dr. Don Berwick, former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and President Emeritus at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Prior to the meeting several residents spoke out in favor of the resolution, along with representatives from the Massachusetts Nurses Associations and the Western Massachusetts Area Labor Federation AFL-CIO.

The resolution also cites the cost of healthcare to municipalities like Springfield, who in fiscal year 2021 estimates $71 million in healthcare spending. According to the Western Massachusetts Medicare for All Coalition, that cost would have been $41 million dollar less under the proposed single-payer system.

Western Massachusetts Medicare for All’s Springfield Hub released the following statement following the vote:

“We want to thank the Springfield City Council for putting Springfield residents first and supporting the idea that people should come before profits when it comes to healthcare in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Single payer will save the city money when it comes to health insurance for municipal employees, money that can be used for many of the quality of life issues citizens find most important. If people want to join the movement towards Medicare for All in Massachusetts, they can join us by contacting info@wmmedicareforall.org in order to join the Springfield Hub of Western Mass Medicare for All. We meet once a month and provide background and education for anyone wanting to learn more.”

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