The resolution is seen as a step toward addressing health inequities and improving outcomes for all residents in Baltimore and beyond.
Baltimore has officially joined the growing list of over 100 U.S. municipalities advocating for a nationwide Medicare for All healthcare system. This significant endorsement, led by Democratic City Councilmembers Kristerfer Burnett and Odette Ramos, aligns Baltimore with major cities like Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in supporting a federally funded universal healthcare program.
Burnett expressed gratitude to advocates who have been instrumental in advancing these resolutions nationwide, highlighting the importance of accessible healthcare for thriving communities. Rev. Alvin C. Hathaway Sr., a local pastor, emphasized the critical need for healthcare as a right, especially for those facing tough choices like affording insulin or groceries.
Baltimore’s endorsement comes against the backdrop of concerning health statistics. More than one-fifth of its residents live in poverty, and 6.7% of those under 65 are uninsured. A 2020 report by the Baltimore City Health Department highlighted the city’s significant health disparities and mortality rate, which is 30% higher than the state average.
National Nurses United President Jean Ross pointed out the dire consequences of patients foregoing or delaying care due to cost concerns. She praised Baltimore’s resolution as a testament to the growing grassroots movement for universal healthcare in the U.S.
Earlier this year, Senator Bernie Sanders, alongside Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Debbie Dingell, reintroduced Medicare for All legislation. Sanders stressed that healthcare should be recognized as a human right, lamenting the millions who can’t afford medical visits.
Baltimore’s resolution, supporting a healthcare system free of copays or out-of-pocket costs, sends a strong message to its federal representatives, including Rep. Kweisi Mfume who already supports the legislation. The resolution acknowledges the challenges faced by Baltimore’s residents, including the high poverty rate and lack of insurance coverage, and aligns with the call for guaranteed healthcare for all citizens, irrespective of socioeconomic factors.
Healthcare professionals and advocates in Baltimore have voiced their support for this resolution. They see Medicare for All as a solution to the barriers in accessing preventive healthcare services, which often lead to exacerbated conditions requiring emergency care.