New London became this week the first municipality in Connecticut to publicly call for Medicare for All.
The resolution, which City Councillor James Burke said was “a declaration essentially a showing of support,” was unanimously passed Monday.
“We hope that we’re the first of many,” Burke said.
Though Burke said there are moral reasons for the federal government to offer healthcare to residents, he focused more on the financial reasons, seeing this issue “Through the lens of municipalities as employers.”
“Cash-strapped municipalities like New London” could see “a net savings of millions of dollars,” if a Medicare for All bill was passed, he said.
Ronna Stuller, who was part of the citizen-led group that pushed New London to pass the resolution, pointed to the city’s recent increase in healthcare premiums.
“The school board last year saw an 11 percent rise in their health care premiums. That amounted to over half a million dollars,” she said, money that had to be “diverted” from educational programs.
While both Stuller acknowledged that Medicare for All is ultimately up to the federal government to pass, she said it’s important to encourage the state to do what it can.
Gov. Ned Lamont, too, has said rising healthcare costs in Connecticut must be reckoned with.
“You have to deal seriously with health care cost in this state,” Lamont told the CT Mirror. “And I’m going to deal with it, because there is no way to solve this fiscal situation long term unless we deal with health care.”
While New London may be the first municipality to pass a resolution in favor of Medicare for All, it’s not the first in the nation. A group of advocacy organizations banded together last year, to pressure cities and towns across the country to do just that.
Seattle, San Francisco, and Cambridge, Mass. are among the cities that have passed a similar resolution.
When asked why New London was the first in Connecticut to pass a Medicare for All resolution, Stuller said it is a Democratic stronghold, but the nature of the community encourages citizen involvement.
“As a city it invites citizen activity,” she said.New London is the urban center of our region but small enough that you can be on a first-name basis with your mayor. Government is really approachable here for any citizens who want to get active.”