October 31, 2019
The big news concerning the state of health care in New York this week came from The Wall Street Journal which reported that “New Yorkers are waiting hours and lining up down the street to tell state legislators the same refrain: fix health care.” The crowds are showing up to testify as legislators seek information about “the New York Health Act, which would establish universal, guaranteed health care across the state with a single-payer plan.” as the Journal reported.
Where do legislators get the idea that this is a state concern and should not be left to private enterprise or the federal government? From the state Constitution, that’s where.
As the bill’s sponsors point out, the Constitution holds that “The protection and promotion of the health of the inhabitants of the state are matters of public concern and provision therefor shall be made by the state and by such of its subdivisions and in such manner, and by such means as the legislature shall from time to time determine.”
The plan being considered at these legislative hearings around the state starts by assuming that federal and state funds now used to provide health care would be available to the new program, a logical approach but one that might have to overcome the kinds of political objections that have greeted Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and any other attempt to provide a broad-based system similar to the ones offered in every other developed nation, places where health outcomes are better than ours as is access to all sorts of health care and patient satisfaction. After all, the only category in which the United States leads the world when it comes to health care is cost....