Mark Fera, Buffalo

When I retired after a 42 year career as a Physical Therapist, I chose a theme to live my retirement years in a healthy and productive way. PTs live their career, first and foremost as a service to others. We’re helpers and encouragers. We’re problem solvers. We help restore motion and strength and flexibility and balance and alleviate pain. We use our hands in the hopes that our touch is a healing balm to those who entrust their care to us.

My retirement theme is seeking, every day, health of mind, body and spirit. Not just for myself but for the greater community who may benefit from my service, in a new delivery model.

I joined the Campaign for New York Health shortly after I retired. I loved my profession as a PT but I was often confounded by the lapses in the health delivery system. There are those with good insurance coverage but there are many with inadequate health insurance. As a result, millions of New Yorkers neglect medical attention, cancel visits due to high co-pays and are non-compliant with medication regimens ordered by their MDs due to cost. This sets up a dangerous situation for many of our friends and neighbors. As health care providers, we bill a myriad of insurance companies, each with their own rules and regulations that benefit their corporate profit. As an employer, every year we must negotiate with health insurers regarding premiums and coverages. Invariably market forces have not curbed the rapid escalation of healthcare costs and the consumer and employer pay more and more for less and less coverages. The system is fraught with maddening inconsistencies.

As a PT, we often have very medically complex patients. Our job is to best direct our energy and resources to serve our patients. We problem solve often in multidisciplinary teams. The New York Health Act would guarantee health care for every adult and child in New York State through a comprehensive, publicly funded, single payer health care plan. Every New Yorker would have a access to equal, equality care, regardless their wealth or place of employment. Every provider would have the ease of billing one payer, the New York Health Trust. The Trust would have powers to negotiate medication formulary rates. Every employer would no longer have to go through the yearly arduous process of choosing health plans. Employers would payroll deduct their employees with funds directed to the New York Health Trust. It’s a simple, streamlined, cost effective way of providing comprehensive health care. This plan has been vetted by leading economists and has the endorsement of a growing number of New Yorkers who have been hurt by high deductibles, copays and co-insurance. I believe New York State can and will pass the New York Health Act. Our action will show the nation that this plan is doable and in fact is the solution toward a better way to deliver health care to all New Yorkers.