Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle) sent a letter earlier today to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine urging them to take a serious and proactive approach to the emerging coronavirus.
In it she underscores the benefit of a universal, Medicare for All, single-payer health care system and emphasizes the “serious danger” that thousands of people in our community may contract coronavirus, but never have it diagnosed or receive care, because they cannot afford the doctor’s visit.
Sawant also invites the Mayor and Executive to utilize the City of Seattle and King County’s emergency funds to guarantee that anyone in our region with a respiratory illness has access to a doctor’s visit without fear of medical bills.
“…Insurance companies or employers should cover all copays and other out-of-pocket costs, with the city or county providing support as needed. This should be advertised widely so that anyone with a respiratory illness knows they can get care at no cost to themselves. We also must demand that in addition to fully complying with City and State labor laws, all employers provide guaranteed paid sick leave as necessary, and maximum flexibility for employees to work from home.
“The Trump administration’s total failure to respond to this crisis is further exacerbating the problems created by a for-profit healthcare system. This comes on top of the insurance giants and pharmaceutical companies having bought the elite of both political parties for decades to prevent Medicare for All…”
In closing, Sawant warns against the “real prospect of tens of millions of uninsured and underinsured people contracting the virus, and a crisis turning into a disaster” and urges regional leadership “to take all necessary steps to make cost-free doctor visits available to everyone exhibiting signs of coronavirus.”