The city of Hoboken is threatening to lay off 79 municipal employees to fix their budget deficit, citing (among other factors) the rising cost of providing these employees with health insurance, which is currently administered by a private (for-profit) third party. At a recent city council meeting many of those threatened with layoffs described the hardships they would face if they lost their job and with it their health coverage.
We would not be having this conversation if we had a universal healthcare system like the Medicare for All bills that have been introduced in both houses of Congress. The federal government, which does not face the same budget constraints as state and local governments, can provide health coverage to every US resident that is free at the point of use and lower national health spending in the process. The only reason this is not already the case (as it is in all other developed countries) is that private health insurers use their political power to block any reforms to our healthcare system.
Hoboken’s city workers deserve better than this. So do the rest of us. We don’t have to live like this.