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'Huge Moment for the Movement': New Orleans City Council Unanimously Backs Medicare for All

The resolution passed Thursday endorses federal legislation ensuring comprehensive healthcare coverage both for the duration of the pandemic and beyond.

Sign reads: Medicare for All. Healthcare is a right

"We must continue to build this grassroots energy at every level—in cities, counties and states across America—to finally guarantee healthcare to all our people," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said on Twitter Thursday evening. (Photo: Sen. Bernie Sanders/Twitter)

Medicare for All advocates cheered Thursday after the New Orleans City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting guaranteed healthcare coverage.

"This is a huge moment for the movement," said advocacy group Public Citizen, which is part of a broad coalition urging municipalities to pass Medicare for All resolutions.

The resolution passed by the city council at their video conference meeting signals endorsement of the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act, authored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), which would direct Medicare to cover all the healthcare costs of everyone in the U.S. for the duration of the pandemic. The resolution also urges support for Sanders's Medicare for All Act, introduced last year, which would provide comprehensive healthcare coverage to every American beyond the duration of the Covid-19 crisis.

The council's agenda notes from Thursday summarize the resolution, saying that measure supports:

Endorsing and urging federal legislation to provide universal, comprehensive health coverage with zero cost-sharing for patients during this crisis, such as the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act, and beyond, such as the Medicare for All Act of 2019, and calls on Congress to work toward the immediate enactment of this, or substantially similar legislation, to ensure appropriate healthcare coverage for all residents of the U.S. during both the current crisis and the crisis recovery period.

"The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the dangerous pitfalls of our for-profit healthcare system," Melinda St. Louis, director of Public Citizen's Medicare for All Campaign, said in a statement Thursday. 

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The unanimous passage of the resolution, said St. Louis, sends "a powerful message, reflecting the critical need for guaranteed healthcare for all to ensure that no one should go without care, especially during this pandemic."

"From small towns like Bethlehem, Pa., and Newburgh Heights, Ohio, to major metropolitan cities like Los Angeles, Tampa, and now New Orleans, municipalities across the country are demanding guaranteed healthcare," she said.

Sanders also welcomed the passage of resolution and called for continued work "to build this grassroots energy at every level—in cities, counties, and states across America—to finally guarantee healthcare to all our people."

The Vermont senator's praise didn't go unnoticed by the New Orleans City Council. 

On its Facebook page, the council thanked Sanders "for leading the charge" towards guaranteed healthcare.

"After the past several weeks, it is abundantly clear that lack of healthcare has had a direct impact on our physical and fiscal well-being," the council wrote. "We can and must do better."

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