Mount Rainier City Council is considering joining a growing list of local governments to endorse a congressional plan to expand Medicare. The measure to support a partisan congressional proposal – the Medicare for All Act is a proposal from Democratic legislators – is notable in Prince George’s normally non-partisan city governments.
The measure was introduced by Mount Rainier Mayor Celina Benitez at the city’s June 15, 2021 City Council meeting, who noted the partisan, all Democratic Prince George’s County Council had issued a similar resolution. In introducing the measure, Benitez said the pandemic underscores the need for a healthcare reform.
“It’s not just the fact that Covid has been a problem,” said Benitez. “It has highlighted a lot of the areas that need help in the healthcare system.”
The measure seems to have support from most of the rest of City Council, who each offered brief remarks indicating at least conceptual support of Benitez’s resolution.
Only Councilor Luke Chesek had reservations, saying “I’m just not necessarily there yet on this.”. In a three-minute discourse in which Chesek noted he once wrote a paper on health law policy in law school and also reads long-form journalism on the topic, he contrasted Medicare with insurance options available under the existing Affordable Care Act. Chesek went on to praise the Affordable Care Act in various ways.
“Medicare for all – that is great,” said Chesek. “But there are some very interesting things happening in the world of healthcare today made possible by the Affordable Care Act and some of the creativity the marketplace is able to come up with.”
Speaking after Chesek, Councilor Jimmy Tarlau said he supports the measure “100 percent.”
“I think our medical system is broken. Universal medial coverage is where the rest of the world is at and where we should be at, too,” said Tarlau.
The resolution is expected to return to Mount Rainier City Council for further discussion at a future meeting.