How Would the New York Health Act Work?
It would provide comprehensive, universal health coverage for every New Yorker and would replace private insurance company coverage. You and your health care providers work to keep you healthy. New York Health pays the bill.
1. Freedom to choose your health care providers. There would be no network restrictions. Only patients and their doctors – not insurance companies – would make health care decisions.
2. Comprehensive coverage. All New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, would be covered for all medically necessary services, including: primary, preventive, specialists, hospital, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug, and medical supply costs – more comprehensive than commercial health plans.
3. Paid for fairly. Today, insurance companies set the same high premiums, deductibles, and co-pays, whether it’s for a CEO or a receptionist, and a big successful company actually pays less than a small new business.
Under New York Health, individuals and employers would not pay premiums, deductibles and co-pays.
Instead, coverage would be funded through a graduated assessment on payroll and non-payroll taxable income, based on ability to pay. For 98% of New Yorkers, it will be a substantial reduction in what they now spend. Prof. Friedman estimates that there would be savings for New Yorkers with incomes up to $400,000, with the biggest share of savings going to middle-class families.
4. Less administrative waste, better care, more accountability. The total cost would be $45 billion less than what we now spend, because we wouldn’t be paying for huge insurance company administrative costs and profits or for the costly time and paperwork health care providers spend for dealing with insurance companies. Health coverage would be accountable to the people of New York, not to insurance company stockholders.
5. Job-friendly. Health care costs are a significant and unpredictable problem for business. These costs as a share of payroll have increased 50% in a decade, with small group rates increasing almost 7% on average in 2014, and New York businesses spend over $2 billion annually just to administer health benefits. The New York Health Act simplifies and reduces costs for employers – large and small – by taking them out of the business of buying health coverage. That would make New York dramatically more job- friendly, especially for small businesses, start-ups, low-margin businesses, local governments and taxpayers, and non-profits.
6. The most affordable way. Any plan that keeps insurance companies in the picture means wasting close to $50 billion a year. The cost of eliminating financial barriers to health care and providing universal coverage would be more than offset by savings on administration and through negotiated pricing for pharmaceuticals and other services.
Support is growing for this common sense approach. A report by the non-partisan organization Public Citizen shows how a state single-payer plan can be enacted even with federal laws like the ACA and Medicare.
The New York Health Act has been endorsed by a long list of organizations, including the New York State AFL-CIO, 1199 SEIU, the New York State Nurses Association, 32BJ SEIU, NYS United Teachers (NYSUT), United Federation of Teachers (UFT), UFCW Region 1 and Local 1500, Communications Workers of America District 1 and Locals 1103, 1104, 1120 and 1180, United Auto Workers 9 & 9A, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1056 and 1179, the Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union (RWDSU) UFCW and RWDSU Local 338, the Doctors Council SEIU, the Committee of Interns and Residents SEIU, United University Professions, IATSE Local 1, Utility Workers of America Local 1-2, Teamsters Joint Council 16, Machinists District 15, the Green Party, Citizen Action, the Working Families Party, League of Women Voters, Make the Road/New York, New York Communities for Change, the New York Immigration Coalition, the New York State Academy of Family Physicians, the New York State American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Public Health Association of NYC (PHANYC), the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, and 98 state legislators.
The Affordable Care Act and New York’s health benefit exchange are cleaning up some of the damage caused by the way we pay for health care. But it’s time to truly fix the system.
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The “New York Health Act” is sponsored in the Assembly by Health Committee chair Richard N. Gottfried (A.5062) and in the Senate by Bill Perkins (S.3525). For the full text of the bill, see below or go to http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us and type: a5062. For more information, e-mail: GottfriedR@assembly.state.ny.us.