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Kshama Sawant calls for free doctor’s visits for King County coronavirus patients

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant. (Seattle City Council)

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant issued a letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine Monday, pushing for free medical care for any patients with coronavirus symptoms.

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Sawant proposes the use of emergency funds “to guarantee that anyone in our region with a respiratory illness has access to a doctor’s visit without fear of medical bills.”

That would include “cost-free doctor visits” for any patient exhibiting signs of the illness.

“In the context of a global pandemic, the anarchy of this for-profit system could be lethal to many in our society,” the letter reads. “People who are priced out of doctors visits will be in danger themselves, and will spread coronavirus to their friends, family, and coworkers.”

As coronavirus has spread across the United States, many have been hit with surprise bills for medical care, including a man and his daughter who were kept in government-mandated isolation near San Diego. After he was released, he found he had unknowingly racked up almost $4,000 in charges from doctors, radiologists, and more.

The hope for Sawant is to avoid a similar situation taking place in King County, while also limiting the spread of the virus.

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“One city or one county alone cannot create Medicare for All, but we can take emergency measures here to ensure that cost is not a barrier for our community to get the care they need in this immediate crisis and to avoid further spreading of the virus,” she stated.

Neither Mayor Durkan nor Executive Constantine have yet to respond publicly to Sawant’s letter.

As of publishing, there are 10 confirmed cases of coronavirus in King County, including two deaths. An additional three cases have been reported in Snohomish County.

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