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'A Huge Moment for the Movement': Los Angeles City Council Approves Resolution in Favor of Medicare for All

"Today's resolution sends a powerful message to Congress that the people of Los Angeles demand that health care be treated as a right, not a privilege."

Propopents of the resolution backing Medicare for All celebrate outside the City Council chamber room in Los Angeles after the 10 to 1 vote in favor of passage on Tuesday, November 5, 2019. (Photo: Bonnie Castillo/NNU/CNA)

Propopents of the resolution backing Medicare for All celebrate outside the City Council chamber room in Los Angeles after the 10 to 1 vote in favor of passage on Tuesday, November 5, 2019. (Photo: Bonnie Castillo/NNU/CNA)

With a nearly unanimous vote on Tuesday the Los Angeles City Council—representing the nation's second most populous city—passed a resolution endorsing federal Medicare for All legislation.

Labor unions and progressive advocacy groups applauded the 10 to 1 vote of the council as a key victory in the broader fight to win Medicare for All nationally.

Backers of the resolution specifically sought the council's officials approval of House Resolution (H.R.) 1384, The Medicare for All Act—introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.)—which, according to a city council document, would "expand health care coverage, eliminate health care disparities, and lower the cost of health care for all United States residents."

"Nurses see the needless suffering of our patients every day. We can't do the jobs we are committed to doing under the current system—that is why we need and will fight for Medicare for All." —California Nurses AssociationThe California Nurses Association (CNA), the state's largest nurses union, celebrated Los Angeles becoming the largest city in the U.S. to adopt a resolution in support of Medicare for All. 

"Nurses see the needless suffering of our patients every day,"  CNA said in a statement following the vote. "We can't do the jobs we are committed to doing under the current system—that is why we need and will fight for Medicare for All."

The union, whose members in the city actively campaigned for the resolution, thanked all the "grassroots supporters in L.A. who have worked tirelessly knocking on doors, phonebanking, and calling on elected officials to put patients over profits."

Melinda St. Louis, director of Public Citizen's Medicare for All Campaign, said local endorsements like this are crucial because city councilors and other officials "have a front-row seat to the devastation wrought by our inequitable and cruel for-profit health care system."

Passage of the resolution, added St. Louis, is a credit to grassroots activists and regular people who have educated their neighbors and friends and agitated lawmakers for change.

"Today's resolution," she said, "sends a powerful message to Congress that the people of Los Angeles demand that health care be treated as a right, not a privilege. We hope that the members of Congress representing districts in Los Angeles who have not yet co-sponsored Medicare for All legislation—including U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), who sits on a key committee—will heed the call that it's time to get on board and fight for guaranteed health care for all."

Updated: This piece was updated to include comment from the California Nurse's Association.

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