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PRESS RELEASE - City & County Single Payer Resolutions

posted Jun 20, 2018, 9:11 AM by Green Party of Allegheny County

June 19th, 2018
Contact: Tim Jones, Chair,

Green Party of Allegheny County (GPOAC) calls for immediate action and legislative votes for single payer healthcare at both the state and federal levels, after the city of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County both pass resolutions in favor of a single payer healthcare system and recognizing healthcare as a human right.

On June 19th, 2018, thanks to the efforts of Corey O'Connor in the Pittsburgh city council and Anita Prizio in the Allegheny County council, both city and county councils have passed resolutions in support of a single payer, "Medicare for All" healthcare system. The county council adopted the measure by a vote of 10-4 [1], while the city council adopted the measure unanimously with a vote of 9-0 [2]. GPOAC applauds both resolutions and calls for state and federal elected officials to take the resolutions seriously as evidence that Pennsylvanians are ready for a single payer healthcare system that guarantees comprehensive healthcare to all.

Jay Walker, GPOAC candidate for state representative in the 23rd district, was present at the county council meeting, attending in favor of the resolution along with several other GPOAC members. "I am very happy to see these resolutions in support of common sense health care policy. Our legislators in Harrisburg and Washington should listen to our local elected officials by working to move these bills forward." Walker said.

GPOAC previously endorsed HR 676 as the blueprint for a national single payer system. The bill would guarantee Medicare coverage to all Americans, and expand Medicare to include additional services such as dental, vision, and cheaper prescription drugs. A similar bill, HB 1688, has been introduced in the Pennsylvania general assembly that would create a statewide single payer system with similar expanded services. Both bills represent clear alternatives to the for-profit health insurance model that has proved to be a disaster. A 2013 economic policy memo by Dr. Gerald Friedman of the University of Massachusetts Department of Economics concluded that a Pennsylvania single payer system would result in drastic administrative cost decreases that would fully offset the increased costs of covering more people, while lowering the individual costs to most residents and businesses by utilizing a progressive income tax. [3] A large list of economic studies in favor of single payer healthcare, both at the state and federal level, is provided at [4]. The Green Party of Pennsylvania and the Green Party of the United States have both supported a single payer healthcare system as part of the party platform since 2000. [5]

"The rest of the world has some form of single payer system, it is time we joined them by guaranteeing comprehensive healthcare as a human right" said Garret Wassermann, GPOAC vice-chair and candidate for state representative in the 45th district. "It is not a lack of financial resources that prevents single payer healthcare from happening, it is a lack of political will. We spend hundreds of billions of dollars every year on corporate tax breaks and war, it is time that we shift our priorities."

Both Green candidates, Walker and Wassermann, have pledged to sponsor and support single payer legislation if elected. Neither of their Democratic opponents in the general election, Dan Frankel and Anita Astorino Kulik, respectively, have to-date sponsored HB 1688 according to general assembly records. [6] [7] Statewide, Green Party of Pennsylvania candidates Paul Glover for governor and Neal Gale for US senator also have both declared support for single payer healthcare.

GPOAC calls on all elected officials, regardless of political party, to work quickly to provide guaranteed, comprehensive healthcare to all Pennsylvanians. GPOAC calls for all single payer supporters to call, email, and write letters to elected officials demanding a single payer healthcare system that works for us instead of insurance companies.