U.S. Conference of Mayors President Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans, Convened
Mayors from Major Population Centers in OH, AZ, NV, ME, SC to Form Mayoral / Congressional Working Group Following Collapse of Healthcare Vote
Democratic, Republican Mayors Argued for No Medicaid Cuts, Increased Response to Opioid Epidemic and No Unfunded Mandates in Future Legislation Draft
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, a group of mayors representing the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) held a telephone press conference to discuss a way forward given the collapse of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) through a Senate partnership with mayors across the country in creating a bipartisan and more effective health care bill, rather than move forward with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to completely repeal the existing law. Mayors argued that any bill should be crafted by local and national lawmakers, place people first – and park Washington politics at the door. An audio recording of the call can be found here.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, led the call, and was joined by Dayton, OH Mayor Nan Whaley; Reno, NV Mayor Hillary Schieve; Bangor, ME Mayor Joe Baldacci and Columbia, SC Mayor Steve Benjamin in calling for Senators from their respective states to consider the impact a repeal bill – with no replacement – would have on millions of Americans – and make a local and national case for the Senate to work in partnership with bipartisan mayors across the country. Mayors discussed how any Senate bill must ensure coverage and treatment for Americans with addiction, avoid cuts to Medicaid that would put our country’s most vulnerable at increased risk and devastate community health services and municipal budgets.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu, New Orleans, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said “Washington must slow down and start from scratch to create a bill based on the premise that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. We stand ready, and willing, every day, shoulder to shoulder, to work with Republicans and Democrats Congress in the next six to twelve months to get this right, not just to get it done fast. Mayors park politics at the door. Any fixes to healthcare should do the same – and that’s why I’m calling on the Senate to craft legislation with mayors – and governors – at the table.”
“This is an opportunity for mayors, governors and Congress to come together and create and implement bipartisan legislation that will strengthen our nation’s healthcare system by lowering costs and increasing access to high quality affordable healthcare,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin, Columbia (SC), Vice President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “As mayors, we work together to find solutions that meet the needs of all of our citizens. Congress must do the same.”
“Plans that have come out of Congress so far would put cities in a literal state of emergency by devastating local health services. We know communities best – as mayors know our constituents on a first name basis; these are the people we see at grocery stores and at the little league field,” said Mayor Hillary Schieve, Reno (NV). “For this reason, right now, it’s incredibly important that we urge the Senate and Congress to sit down with Mayors for a working group and come up with a solution that will not rip healthcare away from any American who needs it, but instead make the system stronger.”
“220,000 people in Ohio receive treatment between mental health and addiction services just from the Affordable Care Act. To cut this and to cut Medicaid expansion would be devastating. We’re here to work with senate to make sure we lower costs and increase quality. Those are the two drivers are for us as Mayors. I’ve been working closely with Senator Portman who has been open and receptive to my suggestions – and will continue to do so. I hope we can all do the same in a structured way,” said Mayor Nan Whaley, Dayton (OH).
“Following the failure of the Senate bill, I echo the comments of my senior senator—John McCain—in calling for a bipartisan approach to healthcare reform,” said Mayor John Giles of Mesa, AZ. “Everyone understands that reforms to the Affordable Care Act are needed, but they should be done in an inclusive, open manner. I hope that Senators McCain and Flake and their colleagues will take mayors up on our offer to partner to craft bipartisan legislation that meets the needs of cities and towns across Arizona.”
“Maine is very rural. 22% of this state relies on Medicare. 596,000 Mainers, which is about half the state, have pre-existing conditions. This state will be devastated from an economic and from a healthcare vantage point by completely repealing the Affordable Care Act. It’s a nonstarter – and I commend Senator Susan Collins and Senator Angus King for their independent leadership on this important issue,” said Mayor Joe Baldacci, Bangor (ME). “Maine is not able to afford this kind of devastation, and to avoid destructive cuts, we need to work together on fixes.”
“A vote to proceed on the repeal of the ACA is not acceptable to our mayors,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director, U.S. Conference of Mayors. “We are seeking a bipartisan approach to start from scratch to craft strong legislation that would fix our system and not leave millions without healthcare. Mayors get results every day. It’s about time Congress ripped a page out of the mayoral playbook – a working group is an excellent start.”