LETTER: Some Unions See Single-Payer’s Advantages, Kim Behrens, R.N., WSJ

Kim Behrens, R.N., June 9, 2019

Your editorial “Public Unions vs. Single-Payer” (June 1) fails to highlight a major theme of the historic public hearing: New Yorkers with commercial health insurance increasingly go without care because of cost. That’s according to two surveys carried out this year: one by the Altarum Healthcare Value Hub, the other by the Campaign for New York Health. Both found that no less than 50% of New Yorkers with insurance had to forgo doctor visits or skip filling prescriptions because they couldn’t afford them.

The skyrocketing cost of care is why I and the nurses of the New York State Nurses Association support the New York Health Act—single-payer legislation that will guarantee health care to everyone: free choice of provider, no deductibles, no copays, none of the bills that are driving so many into financial insecurity and even bankruptcy.

You cite a RAND study that says that single-payer would “require an additional $139 billion in annual tax revenue” in New York. What you exclude here is that for households with $105,300 in income, “average health care payments would decrease by $2,800 per person,” according to RAND.

Add up all your health-care costs and compare that total to the tax costs for the vast majority of New Yorkers. What you will see is that single-payer saves them money and that the $139 billion you write about is more than offset by what people are paying today.

This means more money in the pockets of union members who will be paying less for health care. They’ll have health care guaranteed if they get too sick to work, and lose their employer-sponsored insurance.

Kim Behrens, R.N., New York

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