Philadelphia City Council Votes to Support Single-Payer Healthcare

I, along with folks from PASNAP and Health Care for All–Philadelphia, organized to get this resolution passed. This is our press release.

Today, groups representing doctors, nurses, healthcare advocates and labor unions are applauding the Philadelphia City Council for passing a resolution in support of national, single payer health care (HR 676) and two state single payer bills.

The resolution, sponsored by Councilman Greenlee and Councilwoman Tasco, makes Philadelphia the 28th city and 46th local government to pass a resolution in favor of HR 676, the National Health Insurance Act, sponsored by John Conyers (D-Mich.). The resolution also calls for the enactment of the two single-payer state bills, SB 300 and HB 1660.

Nearly 40 people watched the city council pass the resolution. One audience member, Walter Tsou, MD, MPH, former Health Commissioner of Philadelphia, said of the resolution, “Single payer is a win win for Philadelphia. It not only would give 160,000 uninsured Philadelphians health insurance, but it would redirect hundreds of millions of city dollars toward other important priorities, like libraries and fire stations.”

Jed Dodd, a Teamster Union official who represents railroad construction workers in the Northeast stated, “Single payer health plans ensure all people living in the United States access to quality health at a fair cost. Ninety-seven percent of the resources allocated to support these plans are spent on health care. All other plans waste 30% of these resources on insurance companies who provide no health care to anyone and ironically make more by limiting access to health care instead of making people well. We are heartened that the Philadelphia City Council has endorsed a health care plan for the people of America.”

A fact sheet circulated to Council members demonstrates that if HR 676 were enacted, the city would save $539 million a year, enough to cover its budget shortfall of $2 billion over 5 years. In addition, the bills would guarantee access to comprehensive healthcare at less cost than what average families currently pay for care.

Sabrina Nixon, a medical technologist at Temple University Hospital, and a member of PASNAP, said, “As a healthcare professional of 20 years and a parent, I see that HR 676 would not only fix the current healthcare crisis, but eliminate every parent’s worry that their child will not have access to quality healthcare once they turn 18 or as they move between jobs. If HR 676 were passed, the dream of universal healthcare will become reality.”

Groups that have signed on to a letter asking the Council to sign the resolution, many of which were present at the vote, include: Healthcare-NOW; Healthcare for All – Philadelphia; Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals; United Steelworkers Local 10-1; International Federation of Professional and Technical Employees Local 3; Faculty and Staff Federation of Community College of Philadelphia, AFT 2026; Pennsylvania Federation of the Brotherhood of Maintenance and Way Employees – IBT; American Medical Students Association; Physicians for a National Health Program; Philadelphia Chapter Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; Citizen Access; and Leadership of Neighborhood Networks.

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