The Highland Park Borough Council voted on July 6 to approve a resolution in support of a national Medicare for All system – and by doing so sent an unambiguous message to Congress and New Jersey’s Congressional representatives about implementing a basic human right of universal health care. Ten other New Jersey municipalities, including Trenton, Princeton and West Orange Township, have passed resolutions advocating for guaranteed health care.
The need for such a public policy was highlighted tragically by the COVID-19 pandemic when millions of New Jerseyans lost their jobs and their health insurance. Healthcare providers reported that a portion of New Jersey’s more than 26,000 deaths could have been prevented if people had sought treatment immediately. Often the lack of health insurance discouraged patients from seeking medical help. In addition, uninsured patients ultimately are far more costly to society than insured patients.
A new white paper by Public Citizen lays out how the for-profit health care system left the U.S. vulnerable and unprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, and how a single-payer, government-run health care system in which all Americans were covered would have helped the U.S. response to the crisis and prevented thousands of deaths.
“Healthcare is a basic human right. Medicare for All will save lives. I am happy to have been a part of getting the resolution passed with the help of so many residents,” said Highland Park Borough Councilmember Tara Canavera.
Councilmember Matt Hersh noted that the resolution at the municipal level is particularly relevant, because even though this is a national issue, it has enormous local ramifications.
Highland Park resident Benjamin Arenger, the organizer with Our Revolution Middlesex County, the local chapter of the national grassroots group “Our Revolution,” worked to pass this local resolutioin. “I am proud to see the town that I’ve called home for over a decade is taking a stance in favor of Medicare for All. Achieving healthcare for everyone has never been more important, and hopefully resolutions like this will compel lawmakers at all levels to put their support behind Medicare for All.”