By Joel Burgess for Citizen Times

At the request of a City Council member, Mayor Esther Manheimer is set to sign a “Medicare for All” proclamation supporting a national health insurance system.

The proclamation planned for an Aug. 27 council meeting highlights the proposal championed by senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to establish a government-run insurance system to cover all types of care, including primary care, dental and long-term.

“The Medicare for All Act of 2019 would provide coverage without copays, deductibles or other out-of-pocket costs, and would slash bureaucracy, protect the doctor-patient relationship and assure patients a free choice of doctors,” the proclamation reads, according to a version provided to the Citizen Times on Aug. 19.

Proclamations are done by the mayor without a vote by council. In the past they’ve ranged from days recognizing famous people with local connections, such as Zelda Fitzgerald, to warnings about the dangers of Lyme Disease. 

They are often done at the request of council members. In this case, Councilwoman Sheneika Smith asked the proclamation be given. 

Smith said she didn’t know exactly what the proclamation’s final language would be.

“Honestly, the conversations about universal health care is still generating so many great ideas that I’m not sure which variation will be best for American people,” she said. “Nevertheless, I wanted to be an active player in supporting the local movement towards this direction.”

Health care is playing a major role in the 2020 Democratic presidential contest with candidates agreeing that medical access needs to be expanded but sparring over the best way to do it. Sanders’ Medicare for All proposal is at the center of the debate.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said on Aug. 19 Medicare for All would need to be be adjusted to ensure what she called adequate pay for physicians. 

Despite being the first senator to co-sponsor the plan written by Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris on Aug. 18 backed away from the proposal over concerns about abolishing private health insurance. 

Supporters, Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts,  say private insurance should go away after four years. 

The organization Health Care for All – Western North Carolina praised the planned proclamation.

“We are so enthusiastic about the momentum we have achieved in promoting Enhanced

Medicare for All because it will finally allow medical practitioners to get back to practicing medicine instead of dealing with large insurance companies” said Dr. Ellen Kaczmarek in a press release sent from the group.

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