Representative Andy Kim
33 Washington Street, PO Box 728
Toms River, New Jersey 08753
April 4, 2022
Representative Andy Kim,
On March 17, 2021, Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Debbie Dingell introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2021 (H.R. 1976). The purpose of this letter is to express the urgency for such legislation and to ask for your prompt co-sponsorship of this bill.
As you are aware, the United States pays far more on healthcare expenditures than any other country. Despite such a massive investment, our country observes the worst health outcomes when compared with those of every other high-income country. Furthermore, the pandemic has exposed the failure of employer-sponsored health insurance. At the height of the pandemic, 35 million American workers lost their jobs – 16.2 million of those workers and their dependents lost their employer-sponsored health insurance. Should workers who lose their jobs also lose their healthcare?
While NJ-3 as a whole is one of the wealthier districts in New Jersey, there is still a significant uninsured population in localities like Freehold Borough (uninsured rate of 23.2%), Hightstown (uninsured rate of 20.2%) and East Windsor (uninsured rate of 10.9%). According to census data, at least 34,757 people are uninsured in your district. The highest uninsured rates are reported among people of color, small-business workers, people with low incomes, and young adults.
But it is not just those without insurance who experience the faults in our for-profit healthcare system. Nationally, twenty-one percent of those with private health insurance continue to experience premiums, deductibles, and co-pays so high that they are unable to get the care they need. What good is health insurance if the costs for using it are prohibitively high?
As hospitals continue to monopolize, healthcare costs increase. These increases yield increases in insurance premiums and these cumulative costs bleed into every sector of our economy. Municipal and school budgets are increasingly burdened by healthcare premiums. Employees are forgoing wage increases as their employers are increasingly burdened by healthcare premiums. It is not difficult to imagine the overwhelming relief municipalities, schools, small businesses and employers would experience under Medicare for All.
It is not only the economic arguments that support the case for Medicare for All; the potential for the social and economic advancement of women, people of color, young people and patients from lower socioeconomic status further highlight the need for Medicare for All. As the responsibilities of long-term familial care more often burden women, Medicare for All would relieve this burden as the legislation provides for long-term healthcare. As people of color experience higher uninsured and underinsured rates, Medicare for All would rectify racial disparities in healthcare regarding access to care. This is especially relevant for Hispanic New Jerseyans, who are the group with the highest uninsured rate. NJ-3 has just added towns such as Hamilton and Hightstown, which contain significant Hispanic populations. As more than half of bankruptcies are due to medical debt, Medicare for All would replace the apathetic system that forces its citizens to enter bankruptcy because of healthcare costs. Any healthcare reform that does not permanently guarantee healthcare as a human right, regardless of one’s gender, race, socioeconomic or employment status, is inadequate.
With the effects of the pandemic still being felt across the Garden State, on February 24, 2022, the Mercer County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a Resolution calling on our federal government to enact Medicare for All. Mercer County is the latest among fourteen other jurisdictions in New Jersey to send a message to our congressional delegation that guaranteed healthcare is needed now more than ever.
The undersigned represent the diverse coalition of local organizations with members in New Jersey’s third congressional district who understand the urgent need to pass the Medicare for All Act of 2021 (H.R. 1976). We understand that Medicare for All is not just a healthcare issue; rather, it is a social justice issue; it is a racial justice issue; it is a gender equity issue; and it is an economic justice issue. To support the social, racial and economic advancement of New Jerseyans, Medicare for All is a policy priority. We urge you to support the social and economic advancement of the residents of New Jersey’s third congressional district and co-sponsor the Medicare for All Act of 2021 (H.R. 1976).
We look forward to receiving your reply.
Anna-Marta Visky, Our Revolution – and the following groups with members in NJ-3:
New Jersey Universal Healthcare Coalition
Our Revolution Trenton-Mercer
Bend the Arc Jewish Action: South Jersey
Cooper River Indivisible
South Jersey Progressive Democrats
Monmouth County Democratic Progressive Caucus
Latino Action Network Foundation
New Jersey Environmental Council
Cosecha New Jersey
Wind of the Spirit
Make the Road NJ
People’s Organization for Progress
NJ State Industrial Union Council
Greater New Jersey Pride at Work
Latino Coalition of NJ
Pharmacists for Single Payer
Latina Civic Action
Our Revolution Monmouth County
Sts. Stephen & Barnabas Episcopal Church, Florence – Fr. Priest in Charge Ryan Paetzold
South Jersey NOW – Alice Paul Chapter
Representative Andy Kim