YuLing Koh Hsu

  • published Reject the cruelty of Medicare Advantage, NYC in Press 2022-06-16 09:57:33 -0400

    Reject the cruelty of Medicare Advantage, NYC

    OPINION

    Reject the cruelty of Medicare Advantage, NYC

    By David M. Newman

    New York Daily News, Jun 16, 2022 at 5:00 am

    When my wife, Ellen Bilofsky, was diagnosed in 2021 with grade 4 glioblastoma, an inoperable form of brain cancer, we understood that our remaining time together was limited. We hoped to spend it with family and friends, sharing joyful memories and making Ellen as comfortable as possible. We did not anticipate that the last six months of her life would be consumed by constant battling with our medical insurer to obtain the care that Ellen needed and deserved. This happened largely because our excellent union-negotiated, employer-provided retiree health care coverage had been downgraded from traditional public Medicare to a for-profit Medicare Advantage plan.

    In one instance, Ellen’s hospital-based medical team prescribed in-patient acute rehab, and, although the rehab facility approved her admission, our Medicare Advantage Plan determined these decisions to be “medically unjustified” and denied coverage. The denial was eventually overturned — but only after significant delay and interruption in treatment, and significant effort on our part to overturn the denial.

    Read more

  • published m4a may 2022 2022-05-13 00:45:48 -0400

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - New Report: Medical Debt and Lack of Access to Affordable Healthcare Harms BIPOC Communities; Universal Healthcare Will Advance Racial Equity

    NEW YORK STATE BLACK, PUERTO RICAN, HISPANIC, AND ASIAN LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS

    For Immediate Release

    May 4, 2022

    Contact

    Joshua Joseph (BPHA Caucus), 518.455.5347, [email protected] 

    Valeria Munt (Senator Rivera), 646-259-5923 [email protected]

    Ursula Rozum, 315-414-7720, [email protected]

    New Report: Medical Debt and Lack of Access to Affordable Healthcare Harms BIPOC Communities; Universal Healthcare Will Advance Racial Equity

    Activists, BPHA Caucus Join Together to Demand Passage of
    New York Health Act, and End Medical Debt Bills

    (ALBANY, NY) Lawmakers with the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus and Campaign for New York Health held a press conference today to announce the release of a new report on healthcare and racial equity and to call the Legislature to pass and implement the End Medical Debt bills, and the New York Health Act (A6058/S5474) before the close of the 2022 session. 

    The report, titled Healthcare and Racial Justice: Systemic Change Is Needed for a More Equitable Health System, compiles national and New York State level data to illustrate that healthcare access is a critical racial equity issue and how systemic solutions like a universal, single-payer health plan will significantly improve healthcare access and health outcomes for all. The report found that Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) were disproportionately harmed by COVID-19 due to an unequal ability to access quality, affordable healthcare and, long before the start of the pandemic, were more likely than white people to be uninsured and to struggle with medical costs. 

    The full press conference can be viewed HERE.

    “The New York State Constitution directs me as an elected official to work to protect and promote the health of our state’s residents. That is why I am a proud cosponsor of the New York Health Act. As the Chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus, I know that it is imperative we pass this piece of legislation that will ensure that the most vulnerable New Yorker’s are given access to healthcare services which will provide substantial support to children and families, especially in Black, Latino, Asian, and Indeginous communities.” said Assemblymember Michaelle Solages, Chair of NYS BPHA Legislative Caucus.

    "If we are to effectively address the racial inequities prevalent throughout our healthcare system, we must radically change the way we deliver healthcare to New Yorkers," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "As the Campaign for New York Health's new report further highlights, it is critical that we pass the New York Health Act to guarantee comprehensive healthcare coverage to all New Yorkers and in that way, move the needle forward to eliminate our de facto two tier system of care and truly improve our State's health outcomes as a whole."

    Senator Luis Sepúlveda said, “We have to pass the New York Health Act. It's a social justice issue, we clearly see how disadvantaged communities are the ones who pay the highest costs of inequality. Latinos, Blacks, women, it is always the same groups of people who have to bear the burden of needs and lack of services. In this case we are talking about a basic right: health. Study after study we see how prevention and health coverage has a positive effect in our communities and in the life of any human being. However, we also have to see how study after study it is the vulnerable communities that suffer the most for not being covered, not being able to pay for health insurance and in the specific case of the studies that concern us here, they are the ones that have the most economic debt for the mere fact of wanting to take care of their health. I support this initiative and I will be mobilizing myself to achieve the passage of the New York Health Act”

    “As the newly released report from the Campaign for New York Health makes clear, our state’s health care system needs to prioritize BIPOC individuals who disproportionately lack access to essential services. By providing comprehensive health coverage for all New Yorkers, the New York Health Act will improve health outcomes across all communities. I am proud to support this legislation and advocate for equitable solutions to systemic health care issues this session. Without fundamental changes in our health care insurance system, we cannot provide health care as a right to every New Yorker,” said Senator Jeremy Cooney.

    “With the impending overruling of Roe Vs. Wade, New York must be an access and haven state for all who need healthcare and need to see a provider here. This makes passing the New York Health Act and getting to single-payer healthcare more crucial than ever because it is communities of color that will most disproportionately suffer these consequences. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Caucus to clearly state that single payer healthcare is a racial justice imperative and we must pass it this session,” said Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas.

    “As a Black mother, I am too familiar with the obstacles so many women like me face, particularly around maternal healthcare in this state, and broadly this country. BIPOC communities battle our medicare system daily to obtain basic care. It is imperative that we end medical debt and call upon the state to institute universal healthcare. It is truly an injustice that so many people of color, economically challenged families and immigrant populations suffer from insufficient healthcare due to lack of insurance and medical care debt. It’s beyond time to bring humanity to the healthcare policies in our system and absolve medical debt today. Healthcare is a human right.” said Assemblymember Stefani Zinerman.

    “Decades of inequitable care and resources across the state of New Work have come to shape the harsh reality of our current healthcare system. Overpriced medical bills and mounting debt discourages members of our community from seeking medical coverage. People of color are especially vulnerable and are disproportionately affected by the lack of quality and affordable care. By creating obstacles to meaningful services and resources for those most in need of care, we further perpetuate illness and the trauma we see on a daily basis within our communities. The reality is many of New York’s residents simply cannot afford to be sick. Establishing guaranteed healthcare systems will allow us to make lasting coverage available for our most vulnerable residents and families. I stand with my state colleagues in calling for the passage of the New York Health Act and End Medical Debt bills to create an adequate, equitable system for the people of New York. We must demonstrate our commitment to the welfare of our communities.” said Assemblymember Demond Meeks.

    "As a nurse, a mother, and a black woman, I am all too familiar with the racial inequalities in our healthcare system. These inequalities often lead to preventable deaths in black communities, where the maternal mortality rate is three times higher than in white communities. We have the right to free, high-quality healthcare. The fact that reproductive healthcare is under attack right now makes our fight even more urgent. The legislature must take action to pass the New York Health Act now." said Assemblymember Phara Souffrant Forrest

    “Healthcare in the United States has left a detrimental effect on minority and people of color communities and families from the accumulated medical debt and increasingly expensive costs. Many of these communities are not financially excelling; therefore, many of them can be in life or death situations and will avoid medical help altogether because they can not afford it. Numerous African Americans and people of color communities are not getting the proper support they need from their healthcare providers like their fellow counterparts. This is a result of inequitable coverage afforded. Many can not access health insurance for various reasons (related to being unemployed, being formerly incarcerated, and so forth), or they do not have the sufficient funds left over to pay any medical bills. Overall, healthcare is a human right and therefore is essential to continue to move more toward a public health system like the New York Health Act. The New York Health Act will ensure that all New Yorkers receive high-quality healthcare and all people have access to health insurance regardless of their economic status and racial background." said Assemblymember Khaleel M. Anderson.

    "Our healthcare system is not working for communities of color, including the one I represent in Upper Manhattan. I have one of the country's top hospitals in my district, yet my constituents still struggle to access and afford vital healthcare services. We need the New York Health Act to limit inequities and create a more just healthcare system," said Assemblymember Manny De Los Santos.

    "Eight years ago, I had to file bankruptcy in order not to lose my home because of mounting medical bills, while on short term disability for having had two different surgical interventions on my back, consequences of the toll my work as a nurse has taken on my body. I'm sure I don't have to tell any of you about the long-term effect bankruptcy is having on this Black woman's ability to be considered to have credit in good standing. I have many family members who have lost a limb or two because they can't or couldn't afford medical care, or they have died, much too soon, because they were among those who fall through the large fissures in our current healthcare system. Low-income individuals and families are unable to participate in preventative care under our current system. The wealth and prosperity of our country has been built on the backs of the impoverished and less fortunate, who are contributors to our tax system. The least our country and the state of New York should offer them is affordable healthcare for their contribution to our prosperity. A Single Payer system is a big step in the right direction.” said Tonia Bazel RN, New York State Nurses Association, Infectious Disease Unit

    Key findings of the report include:

    • Black Americans are 10 percent less likely to hold employer-sponsored health coverage than their white counterparts.

     

    • The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate in the industrialized world. Black women are three times more likely – and in New York City, 12 times more likely – to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women. 63% of these deaths are preventable. Uninsurance and under-insurance are major drivers of the U.S. maternal and child mortality rate.

     

     

    • Black households are more likely to hold medical debt. Twenty-seven percent of Black households hold medical debt compared to 16.8% of non-Black households. Medical debt can appear on a person’s credit reports and lower their credit scores, reducing access to credit and making it harder to find a home or a job.

     

     

    • Communities with majority Black and Latinx residents experience provider shortages more than other communities all over the country. 

     

     

    • A universal system of publicly-funded, guaranteed healthcare, often referred to as “single-payer healthcare,” is the most equitable and affordable way to achieve comprehensive coverage for all.  Universal single-payer healthcare will end the burden of medical debt that disproportionately harms BIPOC communities by eliminating cost-sharing – the out-of-pocket costs such as copays that act as financial barriers to care. 

     

    “The report lays out egregious disparities in our healthcare system. We have a maternal mortality rate that is higher than any other rich country and Black women in New York City are more than 12 times as likely to die in childbirth as white women. Black and Latinx communities face provider shortages. As healthcare providers we know we must take an active role in fighting for racial justice. We need the New York Health Act to ensure all New Yorkers can afford the healthcare they need,” said Daniel Lugassy, MD,  Chair of the Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro Anti-Racism Working Group

    Becca Telzak, Deputy Director of Make the Road New York, said, “The pandemic has shown us that New York cannot continue to fall short on passing bold investments to improve our healthcare system. Health care is a human right and all New Yorkers deserve access to quality, affordable health coverage. With just weeks left of this year’s legislative session it is crucial we prioritize the health and well-being of all. We urge the Governor and state leaders to pass the NYS Health Act, which will take us closer to achieving comprehensive universal health coverage for all.” 

    “Access to health care should be a right not a privilege.  As we continue to battle the effects of a public health crisis, we must pass policies that ensure that all New Yorkers are able to receive the treatments that allow everyone to live with inherent dignity and respect”, said Ivette Alfonso, Citizen Action of New York State Board President. “Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities continue to bear the burden of a health care system that prioritizes profits over people. We call on the legislature and the Governor to pass the New York Health Act this session in order to guarantee that everyone is able to receive the care they need, not just the privileged few.”

    "Healthcare inequity based on structural racism resonates with community members of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition where health outcomes have consistently been at the bottom-- #62 out of 62 counties in the state. For years, our membership of 5,000 throughout the Bronx have been engaged in campaigns to address the disparity of healthcare in the Bronx.  COVID 19 has had a particularly significant impact on our community based on these pre-existing inequalities. We believe a universal guaranteed healthcare system as proposed in the New York Health Act would address some of the structural racism embedded in today's healthcare system and had it been in place, COVID 19 impact to the Bronx community would not have been as bad,” said Roberta Todd, Health Justice Organizer Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition.

    "The examples of structural racism in our healthcare system documented in this report are appalling, but not surprising. This deep inequity won't be fixed by tinkering around the edges of health policy. It's time for policymakers who care about racial justice and equity to take bold action.  As long as healthcare is treated as a commodity rather than a right, BIPOC, disabled, poor and other marginalized communities will have less access and worse outcomes. We can't accept this. We need the NYS legislature to pass the NY Health Act to finally guarantee healthcare for all,” said Rev. E. West McNeill, Executive Director, Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State.

    “The COVID pandemic has not only revealed how broken our current system of healthcare is, it has also made clear how people of color are especially vulnerable in our current system run by predatory private insurance companies. Healthcare inequity is a form of racial injustice, and the only way to fix this is to transform our  system to guarantee healthcare as a right by passing the New York Health Act,” said Brahvan Ranga, Political Director, For the Many.

    “We welcome New York’s re-dedication to securing health equity for all its residents,” said Elisabeth Benjamin, Vice President, Health Initiatives of the Community Service Society of New York and co-founder of Health Care For All New York. “This valuable report reveals that the surest mechanism for redressing the many facets of disparities—uninsurance, underinsurance and unequal funding for our health safety net—is the New York Health Act.”

    "The evidence shows that public health insurance is crucial to providing better healthcare in particular for people of color. There is no racial equity or justice without high quality, affordable healthcare, regardless of employment status. No one should have to deal with the burden of medical debt, or be unable to see a doctor because of the community they live in. And yet this is the reality for many, especially Black and Latinx New Yorkers. The NYC Democratic Socialists of America stand firm in our position that this means there is no racial justice in New York without passing the New York Health Act." said Maia Rosenberg, Communications Coordinator, NYC Democratic Socialists Healthcare Working Group

    “Black and Brown birthing people have been dying at a higher rates than their White counterparts since American chattel slavery. Studies have been done and done and done again, yet solutions sit silently in plain sight, blocked by those who benefit by maintaining the status quo. Join Niecy’s Purple Heart Foundation to get informed about the health disparities facing Blck and Brown birth people and to demand lawmakers pass the New York Health Act!” said Charlene Magee, Founder, Niecy’s Purple Heart Foundation. 

    ‘Racial disparities in health services are another way that racism affects the health of communities of color. This has been magnified by COVID-19.  Public health insurance programs play a major role in providing affordable care and better outcomes, especially for Black Americans. Comprehensive, quality, and affordable healthcare must be a legislative priority. ALAA, along with the Campaign for New York Health, join the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus to urge our legislative leaders to bring the New York Health Act to a vote this session,” said Lisa Ohta, President of UAW Local 2325 - Assoc. of Legal Aid Attorneys.

    "The New York State Legislature and Governor have the responsibility to work with communities to fix the root causes of systemic inequality. I can only think that ensuring passage of the NY Health Care Act and End Medicaid Debt Bill package is part of that fundamental change needed to advance equity.  A genuine difference will be made where our healthcare system is not divided among those who receive public or private medical care and those who cannot access health services.  The fight against access barriers and structural and systemic racism will remain.  But it would be so wonderful if we address the problem of a for-profit system that decides who can have coverage or not to the billing tactics that are inflicting harm on patients. All too often lands harder on Black, Latinx, API, and Indigenous communities --only serves to heighten health disparities and create structural barriers to accessing available and affordable health care services," states Anthony Feliciano, Director for the Commission on the Public's Health System.  

    “Mekong NYC supports universal healthcare as a racial equity policy and urges legislative leaders to pass this bill this session. We truly believe the New York Health Act addresses a vital need and issues impacting all communities of color. We have seen how COVID19 and this ongoing pandemic ravage through our Southeast Asian immigrant and refugee community. This highlighted social and economic inequities that have long existed before the pandemic, lack of access to food, housing, healthcare, and other essential resources. Universal healthcare is a human right and no one should be denied, fear of accessing healthcare, no should ever be burdened by the cost of healthcare or having to choose between having a meal for their family or paying for needed prescriptions. We need Universal healthcare. We need our elected and legislators to pass the New York Health Act.” said Khamarin Nhann, Campaign Director, MEKONG.

    “The New York Health Act would end the chaotic medical care system that people with disabilities are all too familiar with and its multiple uncoordinated programs, restrictive networks and formularies, deductibles and copays which can function as barriers to care.  We are pleased to be able to support the New York Health Act, A6058 (Gottfried)/S.5474 (Rivera), since its comprehensive benefits now include long-term care, as well as primary and preventive care, prescription drugs, laboratory tests, rehabilitative and habilitative care, dental, vision, and hearing.” said Heidi Siegfried, Esq., Director of Health Policy, Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY.

    “As a patient-led organization that is dedicated to addressing and overcoming social and racial inequities and health disparities through effective advocacy, we strongly support universal healthcare, especially since lupus disproportionately impacts communities of color,” stated Kathleen A. Arntsen, President & CEO of Lupus and Allied Diseases Association. “We must make healthcare more accessible and affordable by classifying it as a basic human right and not as a benefit of employment.”

    “New Yorkers are depending on our legislature to put people over profits of private insurance companies and pass the New York Health Act. Yet another study shows how people of color suffer because our leaders fail to give us the universal health coverage we all deserve. How many studies showing the administrative waste and inequity of our healthcare funding do we need for state government to act and pass the New York Health Act?” said Dr. Sunny Aslam, Chair, Physicians for a National Health Program, CNY Chapter.

    “Our city of Syracuse, which has the highest rates of child and family poverty of any city in the nation, has racial disparities in health care access and outcomes chiseled into the city’s segregated built environment. On one side of Interstate 81 is SUNY Upstate Medical University. On the other side is Pioneer Homes, the state’s oldest public housing project. Pioneer Homes and the surrounding Black community can see Upstate University Hospital just across the interstate, but many residents cannot access its medical services. The rate of health insurance coverage in Black Syracuse is half that of white neighborhoods, while the death rates from asthma, strokes, diabetes, and cancer are double the rates in white neighborhoods. The death rates from Covid-19 in Black Syracuse has been three times the rate in white neighborhoods. 48% of Black Syracusans die before age 65, compared to 18% of white residents. To close these racial inequities without delay, Syracuse needs state legislators to provide universal health care by enacting the NY Health Act in this session.” Howie Hawkins, Chair, Green Party of Onondaga County.

    “Universal access to high quality health care is the essential cornerstone to a just, moral, and equitable society.” Robert M. Hayes, President/CEO, Community Healthcare Network.

    "We believe all New Yorkers deserve to be healthy.  Medicaid Matters supports the New York Health Act because access to coverage is the way to make sure that happens.  It is time to recognize access to healthcare is a basic human right," said Lara Kassel, Medicaid Matters

    ###

    The New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus is a sixty-six-member body of state legislators representing a quarter of residents across the State of New York from Long Island, the metro New York City area, and upstate.

    The Campaign for New York Health is a 501c4 statewide coalition dedicated to enacting a universal single-payer healthcare in New York State. CNYH brings together more than 300 organizations including the New York State Nurses Association, Physicians for a National Health Program, New York Statewide Senior Action Council, Metro Justice, Chinese-American Planning Council, Citizen Action of New York, Community Service Society of New York, Democratic Socialists of America (NYC), For the Many, New York Labor-Religion Coalition, Make the Road New York, Metro New York Health Care for All, New York Progressive Action Network, Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition, and Working Families Party. Find out more at www.nyhcampaign.org


  • Report highlights need for 'single-payer' system in New York. Here's what it found. 

    BY SHANNON YOUNG | 05/04/2022 05:30 AM EDT 

    ALBANY, N.Y. — Black Americans, Indigenous individuals and people of color were disproportionately harmed by the Covid-19 pandemic due, in part, to their unequal access to quality, affordable health care, according to a new analysis that makes the case for a universal health care system in New York.

    Key context: The report, which the Campaign for New York Health released Wednesday in conjunction with the state’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, examines racial health outcome disparities and how the state could combat them by passing the “New York Health Act.”

    Advocates behind the contentious legislation, which would establish a single-payer-style health care system in New York, told POLITICO that they hope the report’s findings and recommendations can spark a renewed focus on the issue after years of inaction in Albany.

    The New York Health Act has slowly gained support in the Legislature, with the bill’s sponsors, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) and Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx), announcing it had received majority support in both chambers as of March 2021. Despite that, the legislation has struggled to get traction amid concerns critics have raised over its potential costs and the feasibility of setting up a single-payer system at the state level.

    What they said: “For a long time health advocates have been sounding the alarm about racial inequity in health care,” said Ursula Rozum, a Campaign for New York Health co-director. “So it felt like, two years into the pandemic, it was really important to try to highlight the racial justice aspect of why we’re fighting to pass universal health care.”

    Assemblymember Michaelle Solages, a Nassau County Democrat who chairs the caucus, added that the report seeks to provide the facts that back up the claims of racial disparities in health care.

    “We all see that these things are happening in our community,” she said in an interview. “We want to ensure that we’re tackling the issues that are most important. And, with the pandemic, it highlighted and pushed us more to get it done.”

    The findings: The report, which compiles national and New York state data, found that Black Americans are 10 percent less likely than their white counterparts to hold employer-sponsored health coverage. They’re also more likely to hold medical debt and to die from pregnancy-related causes, according to the analysis.

    Black and Latinx Americans, the report also found, were less likely than white Americans to have jobs that permit remote work; and more likely to live in communities experiencing health provider shortages.

    It further found that “public health insurance programs play a major role in providing affordable care and better outcomes, especially for Black Americans.”

    The recommendations: The report concluded that a universal system of publicly funded guaranteed health care, like that proposed under the New York Health Act, “is the most equitable and affordable way to achieve comprehensive coverage for all.”

    “Bringing all residents into a single public plan would eliminate the inequity in access that results from a fragmented system,” it noted. “Campaign for New York Health recommends universal single-payer health care as a policy intervention to create a health system that promotes racial equity and quality care for all.”

    What’s next: The Campaign for New York Health and BPHA Caucus will officially unveil the report and its findings today at an Albany news conference.

    Organizers said the event will kick off a monthlong effort to force action on the New York Health Act, which is currently at the committee level in both the Senate and Assembly. The legislative session runs through early June.

    “We’re hoping to get the attention of the leadership,” Rozum said

    Solages said the 60-plus member BPHA Caucus will put its “political weight behind” that push.

    “I’m putting my 100 percent effort into getting this done this session,” she said. “But if we reach a point where we are not successful this year, we’ll come back again to the drawing table and we’ll push it even harder next year. This is something that our community can’t wait for. So we’re ready to push; we’re ready to get it done.” 

    In a statement, Rivera said he would continue to push for the measure this session.

    "As I have always said, the New York Health Act is a very challenging proposition due to its ramifications and it requires me to be in constant dialogue with my leadership, colleagues and other critical stakeholders in an effort to build consensus around the bill," he said. "I will continue pushing the conversation forward and I hope to make progress before the end of session.”

     

    View this article online.


  • published Racial Justice & Universal Healthcare in Resources 2022-05-03 16:01:09 -0400

    Racial Justice & Universal Healthcare

    The report, titled Healthcare and Racial Justice: Systemic Change Is Needed for a More Equitable Health System, compiles national and New York State level data to illustrate that healthcare access is a critical racial equity issue and how systemic solutions like a universal, single-payer health plan will significantly improve healthcare access and health outcomes for all. The report found that Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) were disproportionately harmed by COVID-19 due to an unequal ability to access quality, affordable healthcare and long before the start of the pandemic, were more likely than white people to be uninsured and to struggle with medical costs.

    The Campaign for NY Health and the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus released this report together on May 4, 2022. 

    The New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus is a sixty-six-member body of state legislators representing a quarter of residents across the State of New York from Long Island, the metro New York City area, and upstate.

    Download the Report Healthcare and Racial Justice: Systemic Change Is Needed for a More Equitable Health System

    Download the Executive Summary

    Use the Social Media Toolkit for the report.

    See coverage from Politico here, amNY here and WSHU Long Island here.

    Watch the livestream of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus and Campaign for NY Health press conference releasing the report May 4, 2022.

    KEY FINDINGS

    Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) were disproportionately harmed by COVID-19 due to an unequal ability to access quality, affordable healthcare and long before the start of the pandemic, were more likely than white people to be uninsured and to struggle with medical costs.1

    Black Americans are 10% less likely to hold employer-sponsored health coverage than their white counterparts. Having high-quality health insurance is directly related to whether patients seek care. 

    Many BIPOC work and live in environments that impose higher risks of exposure to COVID-19. Only 17% of Latinx workers and 20% of Black American workers have jobs that permit working remotely, while 30% of white workers can do so.

    The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate in the industrialized world. Black women are three times more likely – and in New York City, 12 times more likely – to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women. 63% of these deaths are preventable. Uninsurance and under-insurance are major drivers of the U.S. maternal and child mortality rate. 

    Public health insurance programs play a major role in providing affordable care and better outcomes, especially for Black Americans.

    Insurance coverage increases access to care, but being enrolled in an insurance plan does not guarantee timely care or affordability. Nearly half (46%) of insured adults report difficulty affording their out-of-pocket costs and one in four (27%) report difficulty affording their deductible. About 6 in 10 Black and Hispanic adults (58% each) report delaying or skipping at least one type of medical care in the past year due to cost, compared to half (49%) of white adults. Differences in reimbursement rates between private insurance and public insurance create a disincentive for providers to see lower income patients.

    Having health insurance lowers the likelihood of medical debt and the amount owed but even households with health insurance are at risk of incurring medical debt. 17.4% of households with insurance have medical debt compared to 27.9% of households without insurance. Among those with debt, households with health insurance have an average of $18,827.25, while households without health insurance have an average of $31,947.87.  

    Black households are more likely to hold medical debt. 27% of Black households hold medical debt compared to 16.8% of non-Black households. Medical debt can appear on a person’s credit reports and lower their credit scores, reducing access to credit and making it harder to find a home or a job.

    Communities with majority Black and Latinx residents experience provider shortages more than other communities all over the country. Unequal reimbursement rates lead to disparities in access to hospitals and providers. 

    Polling consistently shows that voters across race and party lines support systemic change to address shortcomings in the healthcare system. New York voters overwhelmingly see government as the key stakeholder that should act to address health system problems and support measures to make healthcare affordable and accessible.

    CONCLUSION

    A universal system of publicly-funded, guaranteed healthcare, often referred to as “single-payer healthcare,” is the most equitable and affordable way to achieve comprehensive coverage for all. Universal single-payer healthcare will end the burden of medical debt that disproportionately harms BIPOC communities by eliminating cost-sharing – the out-of-pocket costs such as copays that act as financial barriers to care. Bringing all residents into a single public plan would eliminate the inequity in access that results from a fragmented system. Campaign for New York Health recommends universal single-payer healthcare as a policy intervention to create a health system that promotes racial equity and quality care for all. 

       

    ##

    By sharing our personal stories struggling to get care in the current system, we let others know they are not alone. This is not a personal failure on their part, but rather a systemic problem. We need to join together to build the political will to change the system. Please share your story with the Campaign for New York Health in order to shine a light on the need for a universal healthcare system that guarantees care for all of us. A system where no one is left behind.

      

     

    “The New York State Constitution directs me as an elected official to work to protect and promote the health of our state’s residents. That is why I am a proud cosponsor of the New York Health Act. As the Chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus, I know that it is imperative we pass this piece of legislation that will ensure that the most vulnerable New Yorker’s are given access to healthcare services which will provide substantial support to children and families, especially in Black, Latino, Asian, and Indeginous communities.” said Assemblymember Michaelle Solages, Chair of NYS BPHA Legislative Caucus.

    "If we are to effectively address the racial inequities prevalent throughout our healthcare system, we must radically change the way we deliver healthcare to New Yorkers," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "As the Campaign for New York Health's new report further highlights, it is critical that we pass the New York Health Act to guarantee comprehensive healthcare coverage to all New Yorkers and in that way, move the needle forward to eliminate our de facto two tier system of care and truly improve our State's health outcomes as a whole."

    Senator Luis Sepúlveda said, “We have to pass the New York Health Act. It's a social justice issue, we clearly see how disadvantaged communities are the ones who pay the highest costs of inequality. Latinos, Blacks, women, it is always the same groups of people who have to bear the burden of needs and lack of services. In this case we are talking about a basic right: health. Study after study we see how prevention and health coverage has a positive effect in our communities and in the life of any human being. However, we also have to see how study after study it is the vulnerable communities that suffer the most for not being covered, not being able to pay for health insurance and in the specific case of the studies that concern us here, they are the ones that have the most economic debt for the mere fact of wanting to take care of their health. I support this initiative and I will be mobilizing myself to achieve the passage of the New York Health Act”

    “As the newly released report from the Campaign for New York Health makes clear, our state’s health care system needs to prioritize BIPOC individuals who disproportionately lack access to essential services. By providing comprehensive health coverage for all New Yorkers, the New York Health Act will improve health outcomes across all communities. I am proud to support this legislation and advocate for equitable solutions to systemic health care issues this session. Without fundamental changes in our health care insurance system, we cannot provide health care as a right to every New Yorker,” said Senator Jeremy Cooney.

    “With the impending overruling of Roe Vs. Wade, New York must be an access and haven state for all who need healthcare and need to see a provider here. This makes passing the New York Health Act and getting to single-payer healthcare more crucial than ever because it is communities of color that will most disproportionately suffer these consequences. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Caucus to clearly state that single payer healthcare is a racial justice imperative and we must pass it this session,” said Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas.

    “As a Black mother, I am too familiar with the obstacles so many women like me face, particularly around maternal healthcare in this state, and broadly this country. BIPOC communities battle our medicare system daily to obtain basic care. It is imperative that we end medical debt and call upon the state to institute universal healthcare. It is truly an injustice that so many people of color, economically challenged families and immigrant populations suffer from insufficient healthcare due to lack of insurance and medical care debt. It’s beyond time to bring humanity to the healthcare policies in our system and absolve medical debt today. Healthcare is a human right.” said Assemblymember Stefani Zinerman.

    “Decades of inequitable care and resources across the state of New Work have come to shape the harsh reality of our current healthcare system. Overpriced medical bills and mounting debt discourages members of our community from seeking medical coverage. People of color are especially vulnerable and are disproportionately affected by the lack of quality and affordable care. By creating obstacles to meaningful services and resources for those most in need of care, we further perpetuate illness and the trauma we see on a daily basis within our communities. The reality is many of New York’s residents simply cannot afford to be sick. Establishing guaranteed healthcare systems will allow us to make lasting coverage available for our most vulnerable residents and families. I stand with my state colleagues in calling for the passage of the New York Health Act and End Medical Debt bills to create an adequate, equitable system for the people of New York. We must demonstrate our commitment to the welfare of our communities.” said Assemblymember Demond Meeks.

    "As a nurse, a mother, and a black woman, I am all too familiar with the racial inequalities in our healthcare system. These inequalities often lead to preventable deaths in black communities, where the maternal mortality rate is three times higher than in white communities. We have the right to free, high-quality healthcare. The fact that reproductive healthcare is under attack right now makes our fight even more urgent. The legislature must take action to pass the New York Health Act now." said Assemblymember Phara Souffrant Forrest

    “Healthcare in the United States has left a detrimental effect on minority and people of color communities and families from the accumulated medical debt and increasingly expensive costs. Many of these communities are not financially excelling; therefore, many of them can be in life or death situations and will avoid medical help altogether because they can not afford it. Numerous African Americans and people of color communities are not getting the proper support they need from their healthcare providers like their fellow counterparts. This is a result of inequitable coverage afforded. Many can not access health insurance for various reasons (related to being unemployed, being formerly incarcerated, and so forth), or they do not have the sufficient funds left over to pay any medical bills. Overall, healthcare is a human right and therefore is essential to continue to move more toward a public health system like the New York Health Act. The New York Health Act will ensure that all New Yorkers receive high-quality healthcare and all people have access to health insurance regardless of their economic status and racial background." said Assemblymember Khaleel M. Anderson.

    "Our healthcare system is not working for communities of color, including the one I represent in Upper Manhattan. I have one of the country's top hospitals in my district, yet my constituents still struggle to access and afford vital healthcare services. We need the New York Health Act to limit inequities and create a more just healthcare system," said Assemblymember Manny De Los Santos.

    "Eight years ago, I had to file bankruptcy in order not to lose my home because of mounting medical bills, while on short term disability for having had two different surgical interventions on my back, consequences of the toll my work as a nurse has taken on my body. I'm sure I don't have to tell any of you about the long-term effect bankruptcy is having on this Black woman's ability to be considered to have credit in good standing. I have many family members who have lost a limb or two because they can't or couldn't afford medical care, or they have died, much too soon, because they were among those who fall through the large fissures in our current healthcare system. Low-income individuals and families are unable to participate in preventative care under our current system. The wealth and prosperity of our country has been built on the backs of the impoverished and less fortunate, who are contributors to our tax system. The least our country and the state of New York should offer them is affordable healthcare for their contribution to our prosperity. A Single Payer system is a big step in the right direction.” said Tonia Bazel RN, New York State Nurses Association, Infectious Disease Unit

    "The examples of structural racism in our healthcare system documented in this report are appalling, but not surprising. This deep inequity won't be fixed by tinkering around the edges of health policy. It's time for policymakers who care about racial justice and equity to take bold action.  As long as healthcare is treated as a commodity rather than a right, BIPOC, disabled, poor and other marginalized communities will have less access and worse outcomes. We can't accept this. We need the NYS legislature to pass the NY Health Act to finally guarantee healthcare for all,” said Rev. E. West McNeill, Executive Director, Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State

    “The COVID pandemic has not only revealed how broken our current system of healthcare is, it has also made clear how people of color are especially vulnerable in our current system run by predatory private insurance companies. Healthcare inequity is a form of racial injustice, and the only way to fix this is to transform our  system to guarantee healthcare as a right by passing the New York Health Act,” said Brahvan Ranga, Political Director, For the Many.

    “We welcome New York’s rededication to securing health equity for all its residents,” said Elisabeth Benjamin, Vice President, Health Initiatives of the Community Service Society of New York and co-founder of Health Care For All New York. “This valuable report reveals that the surest mechanism for redressing the many facets of disparities—uninsurance, underinsurance and unequal funding for our health safety net—is the New York Health Act.”

    “Access to health care should be a right not a privilege. As we continue to battle the effects of a public health crisis, we must pass policies that ensure that all New Yorkers are able to receive the treatments that allow everyone to live with inherent dignity and respect”, said Ivette Alfonso, Citizen Action of New York State Board President. “Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities continue to bear the burden of a health care system that prioritizes profits over people. We call on the legislature and the Governor to pass the New York Health Act this session in order to guarantee that everyone is able to receive the care they need, not just the privileged few.”

    "Healthcare inequity based on structural racism resonates with community members of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition where health outcomes have consistently been at the bottom-- #62 out of 62 counties in the state. For years, our membership of 5,000 throughout the Bronx have been engaged in campaigns to address the disparity of healthcare in the Bronx.  COVID 19 has had a particularly significant impact on our community based on these pre-existing inequalities. We believe a universal guaranteed healthcare system as proposed in the New York Health Act would address some of the structural racism embedded in today's healthcare system and had it been in place, COVID 19 impact to the Bronx community would not have been as bad,” said Roberta Todd, Health Justice Organizer Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition

    "The evidence shows that public health insurance is crucial to providing better healthcare in particular for people of color. There is no racial equity or justice without high quality, affordable healthcare, regardless of employment status. No one should have to deal with the burden of medical debt, or be unable to see a doctor because of the community they live in. And yet this is the reality for many, especially Black and Latinx New Yorkers. The NYC Democratic Socialists of America stand firm in our position that this means there is no racial justice in New York without passing the New York Health Act." said Maia Roseberg, Communications Coordinator, NYC Democratic Socialists Healthcare Working Group

    “Black and Brown birthing people have been dying at a higher rates than their White counterparts since American chattel slavery. Studies have been done and done and done again, yet solutions sit silently in plain sight, blocked by those who benefit by maintaining the status quo. Join Niecy’s Purple Heart Foundation to get informed about the health disparities facing Blck and Brown birth people and to demand lawmakers pass the New York Health Act!” said Charlene Magee, Founder, Niecy’s Purple Heart Foundation. 

    Racial disparities in health services are another way that racism affects the health of communities of color. This has been magnified by COVID-19.  Public health insurance programs play a major role in providing affordable care and better outcomes, especially for Black Americans. Comprehensive, quality, and affordable healthcare must be a legislative priority. ALAA, along with the Campaign for New York Health, join the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus to urge our legislative leaders to bring the New York Health Act to a vote this session. Lisa Ohta, President of UAW Local 2325 - Assoc. of Legal Aid Attorneys

    "The New York State Legislature and Governor have the responsibility to work with communities to fix the root causes of systemic inequality. I can only think that ensuring passage of the NY Health Care Act and End Medicaid Debt Bill package is part of that fundamental change needed to advance equity.  A genuine difference will be made where our health care system is not divided among those who receive public or private medical care and those who cannot access health services.  The fight against access barriers and structural and systemic racism will remain.  But it would be so wonderful if we address the problem of a for-profit system that decides who can have coverage or not to the billing tactics that are inflicting harm on patients. All too often lands harder on Black, Latinx, API, and Indigenous communities --only serves to heighten health disparities and create structural barriers to accessing available and affordable health care services," states Anthony Feliciano, Director for the Commission on the Public's Health System.  

    “Mekong NYC supports universal healthcare as a racial equity policy and urges legislative leaders to pass this bill this session. We truly believe the New York Health Act addresses a vital need and issues impacting all communities of color. We have seen how COVID19 and this ongoing pandemic ravage through our Southeast Asian immigrant and refugee community. This highlighted social and economic inequities that have long existed before the pandemic, lack of access to food, housing, healthcare, and other essential resources. Universal healthcare is a human right and no one should be denied, fear of accessing healthcare, no should ever be burdened by the cost of healthcare or having to choose between having a meal for their family or paying for needed prescriptions. We need Universal healthcare. We need our elected and legislators to pass the New York Health Act.” said Khamarin Nhann, Campaign Director, MEKONG

    “The New York Health Act would end the chaotic medical care system that people with disabilities are all too familiar with and its multiple uncoordinated programs, restrictive networks and formularies, deductibles and copays which can function as barriers to care.  We are pleased to be able to support the New York Health Act, A6058 (Gottfried)/S.5474 (Rivera), since its comprehensive benefits now include long-term care, as well as primary and preventive care, prescription drugs, laboratory tests, rehabilitative and habilitative care, dental, vision, and hearing.” said Heidi Siegfried, Esq., Director of Health Policy, Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY

    “As a patient-led organization that is dedicated to addressing and overcoming social and racial inequities and health disparities through effective advocacy, we strongly support universal healthcare, especially since lupus disproportionately impacts communities of color,” stated Kathleen A. Arntsen, President & CEO of Lupus and Allied Diseases Association. “We must make healthcare more accessible and affordable by classifying it as a basic human right and not as a benefit of employment.”

    “New Yorkers are depending on our legislature to put people over profits of private insurance companies and pass the New York Health Act. Yet another study shows how people of color suffer because our leaders fail to give us the universal health coverage we all deserve. How many studies showing the administrative waste and inequity of our healthcare funding do we need for state government to act and pass the New York Health Act?” said Dr. Sunny Aslam, Chair, Physicians for a National Health Program, CNY Chapter

    “Our city of Syracuse, which has the highest rates of child and family poverty of any city in the nation, has racial disparities in health care access and outcomes chiseled into the city’s segregated built environment. On one side of Interstate 81 is SUNY Upstate Medical University. On the other side is Pioneer Homes, the state’s oldest public housing project. Pioneer Homes and the surrounding Black community can see Upstate University Hospital just across the interstate, but many residents cannot access its medical services. The rate of health insurance coverage in Black Syracuse is half that of white neighborhoods, while the death rates from asthma, strokes, diabetes, and cancer are double the rates in white neighborhoods. The death rates from Covid-19 in Black Syracuse has been three times the rate in white neighborhoods. 48% of Black Syracusans die before age 65, compared to 18% of white residents. To close these racial inequities without delay, Syracuse needs state legislators to provide universal health care by enacting the NY Health Act in this session.” Howie Hawkins, Chair, Green Party of Onondaga County.

    “Universal access to high quality health care is the essential cornerstone to a just, moral, and equitable society.” Robert M. Hayes, President/CEO, Community Healthcare Network

    "We believe all New Yorkers deserve to be healthy.  Medicaid Matters supports the New York Health Act because access to coverage is the way to make sure that happens.  It is time to recognize access to health care is a basic human right," said Lara Kassel, Medicaid Matters.


  • published bigcall040522 in Events 2022-03-21 21:51:18 -0400

  • published Textbank to #PassNYHealth in Take Action 2022-03-09 01:39:56 -0500

    Textbank to #PassNYHealth

    Thanks to an incredible Movement Labs Advocacy Texting Grant, we are able to text at least 500,000 New Yorkers we have never contacted before in priority legislative districts! Please sign up to text bank to discover new supporters of healthcare for all and bring them into the movement! You will need a laptop to text bank. We use the Spoke platform to text bank. No experience necessary - training and support materials are available. Texts are available 10:00am until 8:00pm. You can decide how long you want to text - instructions will be given on how to hand over your texts when you have to stop text banking.

    Wednesday March 30

    Thursday April 7

    Wednesday April 13

    Can’t make any of the above dates? Don’t worry, there will be more and/pr rapid response textbank parties as well. Sign up here to get alerts for future textbanks.

    See all events

  • published nov30toolkit in Call In Day to #PassNYHealth 2021-11-29 17:02:32 -0500

  • published november2021toolkit 2021-11-18 09:30:56 -0500


  • published Statewide #PassNYHealth Week of Action 2021-11-10 21:53:26 -0500

    Statewide #PassNYHealth Week of Action

    The healthcare for all movement made HUGE gains last legislative session. After years of organizing, a majority of both the Assembly and Senate are now cosponsoring the NY Health Act. The closer we get to winning universal single-payer healthcare, the harder the opposition will fight back to maintain the pay-or-die status quo. It’s up to us to make sure legislators have the courage to take the NY Health Act across the finish line and make New York the first state to make healthcare a guaranteed right.

    Join the Statewide #PassNYHealth Week of Action Monday 11/15 - Sunday 11/21! Through actions across the state, we are growing the movement and getting ready to make the NY Health Act a top progressive priority in the 2022 legislative session and election year. 

    Statewide #PassNYHealth Week of Action: Monday November 15 - Sunday November 21

    1. Join or organize an in-person action

      We will connect local advocates to local hosts organizing actions! We will support hosts with materials, templates, press, textbanking for turnout and more! Actions so far are happening in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Harlem NYC, Long Island, Beacon and more!

      Click here to learn more and to RSVP to in-person actions!

    2. Join the Digital Day of Action Thursday 11/18, 11:00am-1:00pm!

      Click here to RSVP to receive the Digital Day of Action Toolkit.

    Share this tweet, Facebook post and Instagram post to invite others to join! Follow @NYHCampaign on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

    It is up to us, the people, to make lawmakers prioritize the right to healthcare for all New Yorkers in the 2022 legislative session. Please join the Statewide #PassNYHealth Week of Action 11/15-11/20!

    See below for list of actions statewide! 

    See all events

  • published november2021actionrsvp 2021-11-10 21:02:55 -0500

  • published October 2021 Power Hour Toolkit 2021-10-28 01:49:47 -0400

  • published 102621bigcall 2021-10-26 13:52:14 -0400

  • published bigcall102621 in Events 2021-10-18 14:58:04 -0400

  • published Textbanking Fall 2021 in Events 2021-10-13 00:46:06 -0400

  • Join the movement for healthcare for all

    for_sharing__GUARANTEED_HEALTHCARE_FOR_ALL_OUR_FAMILIES.png

    56 signatures

    Affordable, accessible, culturally competent, and comprehensive healthcare is crucial for the immediate and long-term pandemic recovery of our communities. Every New Yorker should be free from the burden of medical costs.

    The New York Health Act [A6058/S5474] will guarantee comprehensive, universal healthcare coverage — including long-term care, mental healthcare, and dental care — for each and every resident of New York. You and your healthcare providers will work to keep you healthy. New York Health pays the bill. And health insurance coverage will no longer be tied to our jobs. 

    Thanks to the grassroots movement across the state, the New York Health Act has majority support in both state Assembly and the state Senate. Public support has never been higher. For-profit private insurance companies are spending millions of lobbying dollars to kill universal healthcare legislation at the state and national level. They are making record profits off the suffering during a global pandemic. They have the money, but we have the people.

    Together, we are building a powerful grassroots movement to win guaranteed, universal healthcare.

    Sign your name below to join our movement of thousands of New Yorkers who want a healthcare system that works for everyone.

    Add signature

  • published For Immediate Release: April 15, 2021 in Press 2021-04-16 11:41:43 -0400

    For Immediate Release: State Legislators, Advocates Unveil “Compassionate New York" Agenda to Save Lives and Billions of Dollars After COVID

    Media Contact:

    Dan Morris. 917.952.8920

    State Legislators, Advocates Unveil “Compassionate New York" Agenda to Save Lives and Billions of Dollars After COVID

    The Agenda Brings Together Key Demands for Housing, Healthcare and Criminal Justice Reform

    New York -- Today, at rallies in New York City and Rochester, state legislators and advocates unveiled a Compassionate New York legislative agenda that will save lives and billions of dollars. 

    Speakers discussed how three key legislative items - guaranteeing healthcare for every New Yorker, stopping unjust evictions, and ending mass incarceration – can create a more Compassionate New York for all after COVID. Several statewide coalitions and campaigns, including Campaign for NY HealthHousing Justice for All; Justice Roadmap, jointly released the Compassionate New York agenda today, along with New Yorkers who live at the intersection of homelessness, lack of healthcare, and criminalization and incarceration. 

    A new report today reveals that the Compassionate New York agenda would save nearly $12 billion in the first year of implementation alone. The New York Health Act would reduce total healthcare spending by at least $10 billion, Good Cause Eviction protections would save over $1.6 billion, Elder Parole and Fair and Timely Parole bills would save $522 million annually, restoring financial aid access to incarcerated college students will save $22 million and Clean Slate legislation will expand New York’s GDP by $7 billion.

     

    Read more

  • The Guardian: ‘There is a solution’: a Covid survivor’s life-or-death battle for Medicare for All

    By  New York

    Mon 5 Apr 2021 05.00 EDT

    ‘There is a solution’: a Covid survivor’s life-or-death battle for Medicare for All

    Mariana Pineda was hospitalized with Covid-19 and pneumonia last April and can only afford treatment via GoFundMe. Now she’s using her energy to fight for healthcare programs

    Few things in Mariana Pineda’s body have worked properly since she was hospitalized with Covid-19 and pneumonia last April. One day she is seeing a specialist to get nodules on her thyroid biopsied, another day it is a trip to the emergency room after her hands swell and turn red, symptoms of yet another high blood pressure crisis.

    She pays $3,062.48 a month for health insurance to cover this constant stream of treatment, which she can only afford with the help of a GoFundMe online fundraiser. She is too sick to work and is a single mother – her only income is child support payments.

    Amid all of this, when Pineda’s finished with doctors’ appointments for the day and her four-year-old is asleep, she uses her last stores of energy to fight for the government-run healthcare program Medicare for All and its New York state equivalent.

    “This is my gift from the universe,” Pineda told the Guardian. “If nothing else, the fact that I didn’t die from Covid just ramped up my overwhelming desire to get Medicare for All and the New York Health Act.”

    Pineda is one of the many activists, and lawmakers, making Covid-19 part of their calls to reshape the US healthcare system to provide universal coverage. In mid-March, Democratic representatives Pramila Jayapal and Debbie Dingell reintroduced the Medicare for All act on the anniversary of Covid-19 being confirmed in all 50 states and Washington DC.

    Mariana Pineda.
    Mariana Pineda. Photograph: Courtesy of Mariana Pineda

    “There is a solution to this health crisis – a popular one that guarantees healthcare to every person as a human right and finally puts people over profits and care over corporations,” Jayapal said in a statement. “That solution is Medicare for All.”

    The bill has the support of more than half the Democrats, but it is unlikely to pass the House. In the Senate, several Democrats instead are pushing for the public option, a government-run health insurance to exist alongside private health insurance.

    Both reforms seek to make health insurance more affordable, easier to access and less costly and are being weighed by several state governments.

    The hurdles, however, are immense.

    Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, a lobby which represents hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and health insurers, is already spending millions to campaign against reform. In Colorado, the group bought $1m in TV ads to run this spring before a bill was even introduced.

    These ads, which warn of politicians having more control over people’s healthcare, have been effective against health reform for decades, explained health policy expert Colleen Grogan. “The evidence from the past suggests that those advertisements really work and that’s why they keep doing them,” said Grogan, professor at the University of Chicago’s Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Practice.

    Americans for Prosperity, a group with financial backing from the conservative Koch brothers network, is also stepping in. The group spent millions to fight the ACA, and told CNBC in March that that campaign failed in part because they didn’t present an alternative. This time, the group is showcasing a “personal option” plan which would slash regulations and is pitched toward the private sector.

    Activists must also contend with the more moderate wing of the Democratic party. Joe Biden has not endorsed Medicare for All and his healthcare efforts have so far been focused on expanding the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

    The president has already had success: the last stimulus package included $61.3bn to expand insurance subsidies and coverage under the ACA and other federal programs for two years. More than four out of 10 people without health insurance are now eligible for a free or nearly free health plan, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

    Pineda is set to benefit from one of the changes: people who have recently lost work must be covered for up to six months under the usually costly Cobra program. That’s the insurance Pineda pays $3,000 a month for now and she’s waiting to hear from her employer or the government about the subsidy.

    These efforts improve access and affordability, but also direct public money to the private healthcare industry. “So the American public benefits but the American public also loses because it ends up having to pay a lot more than a more rational system should really pay for,” Grogan said.

    Should Biden attempt to make these changes permanent, as is expected, discussions about public spending on private healthcare could be more prominent, a useful tool for reform activists. In 2019, federal, state and local governments accounted for 45% of the country’s $3.8tn in healthcare spending.

    “The interest in containing healthcare spending is not going away,” said Katherine Hempstead, senior policy adviser at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “I don’t think we’re going to hear the end of that at all.”

    And Pineda will do what she can to ensure that.

    The mother of four posts pictures of her vital signs and medical bills on social media, providing an intimate look at the long-term symptoms some people experience after Covid-19 infections and the costs of trying to stay alive.

    Pineda posts posts pictures of her vital signs and medical bills on social media, providing an intimate look at the long-term symptoms some people experience after Covid-19.
    Pineda posts posts pictures of her vital signs and medical bills on social media, providing an intimate look at the long-term symptoms some people experience after Covid-19. Photograph: Courtesy of Mariana Pineda

    “I’ve done panels from hospital beds, I’ve gone on Facebook Live from the emergency room,” Pineda said. “Yes, it sucks that I am sick, but it gives me a unique insight and gives me access to all kinds of things that we might not necessarily know about.”

    Pineda is energetic and quick to laugh, but she is experiencing a nightmare. Her symptoms include headaches that make her feel like someone is shaking a can of coins in her head, vomiting multiple times a week, emphysema, lesions on her kidneys, incontinence and anemia. Her period hasn’t stopped since she had a miscarriage in July. Doctors are monitoring an air sac in her lungs because if it grows much more it will need to be surgically removed.

    She goes to the emergency room almost every month and in September had emergency surgery to remove six blood clots in her lungs, including one blocking her pulmonary artery – the respiratory therapist told her 99% of the people in her position don’t survive.

    She is seeing a urologist, pulmonologist, endocrinologist, hematologist, gastroenterologist, neurologist and cardiologist. A quirk of her insurance, familiar to many Americans, is that her appointments with specialists are only covered if her primary care physician gives the referral – an added layer of bureaucracy.

    “I’ve actually had to myself call up specialists, get their tax ID number, get the diagnosis code, get all of the codes,” Pineda said. “So I spend hours a day on the phone with specialists and the insurance company … if we had the NY Health Act or Medicare for All, it would all be one system and I wouldn’t have to do this while I’m home recuperating and a single parent with an autistic four-year-old.”

    Pineda’s passion for Medicare for All formed when she was volunteering for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential bid, knocking on hundreds of doors while pregnant. She cast her ballot in the New York primary while 4cm dilated and gave birth the next day.

    Five years later, Pineda vowed to keep pushing politicians for health reform. Pineda said: “I am going to harass them until I drop dead and I hope I drop dead on their doorstep for a good photo op.”


  • published Week of Action: #CareNotCuts #InvestInOurNY in Events 2021-02-24 15:46:53 -0500

    Week of Action: #CareNotCuts #InvestInOurNY

    Rectangular graphic with black background. Cutout of Gov. Cuomo on right side. Large, white, all caps text says \

    We need #CareNotCuts! #InvestInOurNY! TAX THE RICH &  FUND HEALTHCARE!

    Join healthcare advocates statewide virtually or in-person in NYC Monday, March 1 for a Statewide Week of Action in support of the Invest in Our NY Act. The Invest in Our NY Act will raise $50-70 billion by ending tax breaks on the super wealthy. All week, we will activate our statewide healthcare advocacy networks in support of budget justice and funding healthcare justice.

    Ten years of austerity have been devastating for public health in New York. We have seen cuts to funding for public hospitals, cuts to funding for homecare for seniors and people with disabilities. We have seen the fragmented and privatized health system fail to protect essential workers, communities of color, and working families from COVID-19. Meanwhile, private insurance companies post record profits and New York’s billionaires have gotten richer during the pandemic. A bold response is needed to reverse the disinvestment and runaway inequality that are causing unnecessary suffering in our state. It’s time to put people first by making the wealthiest New Yorkers pay their fair share, and investing in the healthcare New Yorkers need.

    SCHEDULE OVERVIEW below. Detailed descriptions at bottom.

    CARE! NOT CUTS! 
    CUOMO CUTS KILL!
    TAX THE RICH & FUND HEALTHCARE!
     
    Monday 3/1, 12:00pm-1:00pm
    - Virtual Statewide Speakout: RSVP here
    - In-person NYC Protest & Speakout in front of Cuomo's office (633 3rd Ave between 40th and 41st St): no RSVP, but please share widely the Facebook event page **masks and social distancing observed**
    - Social Media Storm: This toolkit has sample tweets and posts you can use! Graphics too! bit.ly/CareNotCutsToolkitMarch2021
    Monday 3/1, 6:00pm-8:00pm
    - Virtual Phonebanking - no experience necessary! RSVP here.

    Together, we can win budget justice and healthcare justice for all New Yorkers.

    List of detailed demands are as follows: 

    • Pass the Invest in Our New York Tax Act - including Progressive Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Heirs’ Tax, Billionaires’ Tax, Corporate Tax, Wall Street Tax.
    • Stop the Cuts. End threats to cut Medicaid and 340B savings carveout.
    • Don’t stop ETE (Ending the Epidemic). Expand HASA (HIV/AIDS Services Administration) in New York State and protect long-term survivors and communities affected.
    • Release Statewide HCV (hepatitis C virus) Elimination Task Force recommendations and provide at least $5 million so we can eliminate viral hepatitis.
    • Keep your promise: Pass S5298A The Overdose Prevention Centers Act s
    • Prioritize people in prisons for vaccine rollout and free the incarcerated.
    • Keep the MTA open overnight. Stop criminalizing homelessness and end the investment of 500 additional cops in subways.
    • Cancel rent. Secure housing for all during a public health crisis.
    • End the use of police and military for disease prevention (including vaccine rollout in communities and the enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions). Communicable viruses are public health issues, not criminal ones. 
    • Remove the Medicaid global cap
    • Reverse the harmful cuts to Medicaid home care that were adopted in 2020
    • Invest in home care - build the home care workforce by increasing the pay of home care workers to at least 150% of the regional minimum wage.
    • Expand health coverage for immigrants and undocumented New Yorkers: A1585/S2549, A880/S1572
    • Guarantee universal, comprehensive healthcare for all: Pass the NY Health Act (Gottfried/Rivera)

    DETAILED SCHEDULE

    *Monday March 1, 12:00pm-1:00pm VIRTUAL SPEAKOUT & SOCIAL MEDIA STORM*

    Virtual: Invest in Our New York: Healthcare for the People Speak Out and Social Media Storm

    We’ll hear from advocates from around the state who have been impacted by the healthcare crisis and join in a collective action to make the wealthiest pay their fair share.

    RSVP to attend or to sign up to speak out about why you support taxing the rich to fund healthcare for all.

    RSVP here to receive the Week of Action & Social Media toolkit.

    *Monday March 1, 12:00pm-1:00pm NYC IN-PERSON ACTION*

    In-person NYC action: Cuomo Cuts KillWHERE: 633 3rd Ave between 40th and 41st St.
    TRAINS: 4,5,6,7 to Grand Central

    **Please wear a mask/s and social distance at this and at all times in public**

    This year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing billions of dollars in cuts from AIDS programs, Medicaid, and other healthcare services while COVID-19 wreaks havoc across the state. Join us for an action led by ACT UP outside Gov. Cuomo's office to tell him that his cuts kill!

    *Monday March 1, 6:00-8:00pm PHONEBANK*
    Phonebank to Invest in Our NY and Fund Healthcare RSVP New callers welcome! Sign up to generate calls to NY legislators about taxing the rich and funding quality healthcare for all.