A Resolution Endorsing Debate on the National Health Insurance Act

Whereas, every person in New Hampshire and in the United States deserves affordable, quality health care and a primary care practitioner; and

Whereas, over 10% of the citizens of New Hampshire have no health insurance(1); and

Whereas, health insurance premiums in New Hampshire rose 4.3 times faster than wages (92% vs 21.2%) in the first decade of the 21st Century(2); and

Whereas, the City of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, had average yearly health insurance premium increases of 10.43% since 2000, almost four times the rate of inflation(3); and

Whereas, health insurance premiums for the City of Portsmouth, now are equal to an astounding 38.6% of payroll ($15,883,379/$41,128.737); and are projected to be over $40,000,000 by 2020; and

Whereas, illness and medical bills were linked to 62% of bankruptcies in 2007 (4); and

Whereas, none of this is acceptable or sustainable for the public or the taxpayer; and

Whereas, Physicians for a National Health Program founder Dr. David Himmelstein testified that reducing administrative overhead to Canadian levels would save $400 Billion dollars annually(5) – “more than enough to cover our uninsured and to eliminate co-payments and deductibles for all Americans”; and

Whereas, Dr. John Wennberg, of Dartmouth, stated that bringing care intensity down to the per capita benchmarks of low rate regions in the United States, would “save 40%, more than enough to offset any increases in public spending that might result from extending insurance coverage to the uninsured”(6); and

Whereas, Dr. William Hsiao, Professor of Economics at the Harvard School of Public Health, was hired by the State of Vermont to design a health program that would cover every Vermonter with the same essential benefit package; and

Whereas, Professor Hsaio testified that a single-payer system can “immediately reduce health care costs in Vermont by 8-12% and reduce health care costs by an additional 12-14% over time” (7); and

Whereas, reporter TR Reid did extensive research on international health care and reported on his findings in the PBS series Sick Around the World; and in his book
The Healing of America showed that other countries spend less than half of the United States on health care while covering everyone; and he stated that the two elements of any successful national health care plan are to include everyone and to have no for profit insurance companies(8); and

Whereas, the City Council of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, wishes to save taxpayer money and to assure every resident of our city has comprehensive coverage in the health care system; and

Whereas, implementing the proposals of the previous health care experts would save the City over a million dollars annually and the City employees over 10% of their current contribution for health care premiums; and

Whereas, HR 676, The National Health Insurance Act, a bill introduced in the United States House of Representatives, provides universal, comprehensive, quality health insurance for all Americans(9);

Now, therefore be it resolved, that the City Council of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, call on the House of Representatives and Senate of the United States to fully debate the merits and implications of HR 676, and call for testimony by Dr Himmelstein, Dr Wennberg, Dr Hsiao, and TR Reid so their extensive experience and ideas may be brought to the attention of the citizens of the United States; and

That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the New Hampshire congressional delegation, the President of the United States, the Governor of New Hampshire, and to all of our State representatives and senators.