South San Francisco City Council Supports Single Payer Health Care Effort | Local news



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A resolution supporting a single-payer health care system by South San Francisco City Council last week sparked a wider national conversation about the importance of accessible and affordable care.

“Tens of thousands of people die each year in our country from lack of health care and many more go bankrupt. All other developed countries except the United States guarantee health care to all of their citizens, ”said board member James Coleman, who introduced the resolution supporting the board’s review.

Single-payer national health insurance, also known as universal health insurance, is defined as a system in which a single public or parastatal body is responsible for financing health care. Today in the United States, the delivery of care remains largely in private hands. Under a single payer system, all U.S. residents would be covered for all services deemed medically necessary. According to data from the 2018 U.S. Census, 8.5% or 27.5 million people do not have health insurance. Opponents of the single-payer system, however, say it will require tax hikes and higher government spending while resulting in longer patient wait times and reduced services.

Many comments from the public have come asking for a yes vote on this resolution.

Southern San Francisco resident Jennifer explained how a single-payer health care system would have avoided delay in her recovery and saved the state hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“Without the [Affordable Care Act] and get Medicaid, I wouldn’t have caught my condition on time. I would probably be dead by now, ”she said.

She was diagnosed with a rare blood disease and was covered by Medicaid. She was transferred from a doctor specializing in her type of ailment and from a specialty pharmacy because she was out of the network. For most of that time, she was taking one of the most expensive drugs for her condition, which costs around $ 220,000 per year, she said.

After moving to South San Francisco, she was able to find a better doctor and is now back to the very first medication she received after her diagnosis and said it was working.

“That’s five more years of lost time and wages and at a minimum hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional costs to the state that could have been avoided if we had had single-payer health care,” he said. she declared. “I’m not the only one to have this kind of experience.

Other community members, nurses and advocates also shared their stories and support.

“The reality is that our current healthcare system is so broken and profit driven that many of our patients and your constituents are delaying seeking care because they can’t afford it,” said a 12-year-old nurse. at Kaiser Medical Center in South San Francisco.

The pandemic has also exacerbated health system problems, and the loss of jobs for many included the loss of coverage, Coleman said.

“I have had family members during the pandemic who contracted COVID-19,” said Denton Murphy, a resident of southern San Francisco. “The conversations I must have had with them were a reluctance to go to the hospital because they weren’t sure they could afford it. I don’t think we can make it more dystopian than what we are now. People are worth more than dollars and cents. I think this resolution helps assert that.

Vice Mayor Mark Nagales reflected on how they were able to bring some form of health care to the community with COVID vaccinations, including people without health insurance.

“I will be supporting this resolution because of what I have seen with my own eyes in terms of health care inequities with some of our residents,” he said. “It’s important for us to make a statement to say that we need it not as a city or state, but also as a federal government. As a country to say this, there are people who do not have health care, who are suffering. “

Mayor Mark Addiego said he believed it was something to be achieved, but did not believe the resolution was going to be a game-changer at any level, whether at the state level or at the federal level.

He initially said he was not going to vote for it, stating that he did not know the language of this particular resolution well enough to move forward. But after Coleman explained why this resolution was personal to him, Addiego changed his vote to yes.

“I would like to put this resolution to a vote because I don’t feel comfortable being an accomplice or being silent about the broken health care system,” Coleman said.

Coleman recounted how, at the age of 5, his father suffered a traumatic injury leaving him paralyzed from the waist down to his feet. Her mother had two jobs to make ends meet. He also took care of his father so that his mother was not unemployed for too long to still have health insurance.

The municipal council voted unanimously to adopt the resolution.

Alex Walker, senior field representative for Assembly member Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, and Jordan Grimes, political director of the Peninsula Young Democrats, also called to say they strongly support the resolution. Coleman also mentioned the support from the office of State Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, and State Senator Josh Becker, D-San Mateo.

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