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LETTER: NY Health Act would cure high premiums, State Senate candidate Rachel May, Syracuse

By Rachel May, of Syracuse, an administrator at Syracuse University, who is challenging state Sen. David Valesky, D-Oneida, in a Democratic primary — Posted Jul 31, 2018

It's no surprise that health insurance rates in New York are going up again, even for employers ("NY's soaring employer-sponsored health insurance costs among nation's highest," by James Mulder, July 24, 2018.) We can thank Republican efforts to destroy the Affordable Care Act for the rise in premiums, but why are they so high in the first place? A typical New York family insurance benefit (over $21,000) adds more than 40 percent on top of the average Syracuse salary of $49,000. Let's think for a moment about what that means.

It means if you have a business and you want to hire an entry-level worker at, say, $35,000, you have to figure in a whopping 60 percent in overhead in order to offer health benefits. It means you have a huge incentive to hire temporary or part-time workers and avoid paying benefits at all.

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Letter: New York Health Act could improve many lives, Richard Clements, Buffalo News

By Richard Clements

Particularly in the Republican-controlled New York Senate, politicians, dependent on their contributions, have justified blocking the New York Health Act by focusing on the total cost while ignoring benefits, savings, or even comparison with our current dysfunctional, fragmented system that leaves millions uninsured or underinsured, and a medical emergency away from personal bankruptcy.

Several economic studies of NYHA have projected significant savings, but conservatives have rejected them as overly optimistic, ignoring comparisons with other developed nations providing universal health care at half our cost per capita.

So, following the release of the highly respected, conservative-leaning Rand Corp.’s analysis Aug. 1 that shows significant savings for the great majority of New Yorkers plus economic stimulus for New York businesses, I’m waiting for the barrage of negative comments.

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SERIES: Healthcare in America, David Knapp, This Is the Bronx

by David Knapp   — August 12, 2018

This story does not have a happy ending yet because my insurance company is demanding prior authorization for a medication which might help me. My doctor is assiduously arguing on my behalf without success. But let me begin at the beginning.

I am very active. I run, walk, bike, do Yoga, eat healthily and, until Passover of 2010, considered myself to be very healthy. As my friends and colleagues can testify, nothing stops me. But during the holiday that year, I suddenly became very ill. I had uncontrolled rectal bleeding, diarrhea, bad cramping and sore muscles not to mention serious headache and chills. I remember suffering through the first part of the eight- day event with an uncontrollable bladder, embarrassment and pain. At the time, my family had been attending Chabad of Riverdale.

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Letter: NY Health is indeed affordable, Barbara Estrin, Riverdale Press

Barbara Estrin — August 12, 2018

Unbelievable!

The recent “Fox & Friends” Twitter poll showed 73 percent of respondents support Medicare for all. Despite (more scientific) prior polling showing similar national support, “Fox & Friends” had likely expected, “Hell, no! Too pricey!”

In a lengthy study examining every aspect of the New York Health Act, the conservative Rand Corp., confirmed in a reported issued Aug. 1 that doubters are wrong and that yes, New York State not only can afford comprehensive, cost-effective coverage, but that it can provide net savings for 95 percent of New Yorkers over what they are paying now in premiums and co-pays.

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Opinion: Extending the Human Right of Health Care to All New Yorkers, Corey Johnson, Gotham Gazette

Corey Johnson, Speaker, NYC Council — August 9, 2018

Health care for all is a human right. This means no one should be denied care based on their ability to pay.

The World Health Organization recognized this fundamental truth 70 years ago, most countries around the world have been putting it into action for decades now, and doctors and nurses live it out professionally every day.

Truly achieving this moral imperative means we need a universal health care system supported by taxes and administered by one provider. Not only is this the right thing to do, it’s also more practical and less expensive than the status quo.

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Letter: Elect St. George for state Senate, Earl Callahan, Auburn Pub

Earl Callahan, New Berlin — Jul 26, 2018

Just got my invitation to state Sen. Jim Seward's retirement party and I can't wait to go! It's scheduled for Election Day, Nov. 6, as Joyce St. George of Delaware County becomes our voice in Albany: standing up to institutional corruption in New York state government and standing up for single-payer health instance.

Single-payer health insurance — model for the world — is a centerpiece of this small business owner's campaign. Not only would it sharply cut costs by eliminating the insurance-company paper shuffle, it would eliminate the onerous county share of Medicaid, reducing county taxes in Cayuga, Otsego, Chenango, Delaware, Cortland, Ulster, Herkimer and Schoharie counties by more than 20 percent.

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Editorial: Debate on single-payer can’t stop at headlines, Middletown Record

Aug 5, 2018

 

Single-payer health care is in the news again as candidates for state office stake out their positions and think tanks produce reports.

This is not a debate that can take place in headlines. Those will always reflect the extremes, always ignore the details, always appeal to those who have an aversion to facts that do not fit their preconceptions.

All that is unfortunate because New York has an opportunity when it comes to the single-payer debate, an opportunity to examine the issue, to get it right, to provide an example to the other states that might be interested and to then provide a model for the nation.

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Artículo: Haciendo la atención médica garantizada una realidad, Alcántara & Wade, Manhattan Times

Por la senadora Marisol Alcántara (D-31) y Marva Wade, NYSNA

El apoyo para una asistencia médica garantizada y universal está en un punto de ebullición en todo el estado de Nueva York, alimentado por los implacables ataques de la administración Trump a la Ley de Asistencia Asequible, Medicare y Medicaid. Los neoyorquinos buscan desesperadamente proteger nuestra atención médica en medio de estas amenazas, y creemos que la legislación de la Ley de Salud de Nueva York (NYHA, por sus siglas en inglés) -que garantizará la atención médica de alta calidad para cada residente de Nueva York- es la respuesta clara.

La NYHA creará una cobertura verdaderamente universal, la libre elección de hospital, médico y proveedor, y le ahorraría al estado miles de millones de dólares en costos totales de atención médica al reducir el desperdicio excesivo de compañías privadas de seguros con fines de lucro y permitir la compra a granel de medicamentos y equipos médicos. Con la NYHA, se espera que el 98 por ciento de los neoyorquinos pague menos de lo que paga actualmente por atención médica, pero recibirá más beneficios, ya que este proyecto de ley cubre la vista, servicios dentales, auditivos y más.

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Article: Making Guaranteed Healthcare a Reality, Alcántara & Wade, Manhattan Times

By Senator Marisol Alcántara (D-31) and Marva Wade, NYSNA

 

Support for guaranteed, universal healthcare is at a rolling boil throughout New York State, fueled by the relentless attacks of the Trump administration on the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid. New Yorkers are desperately looking to protect our healthcare amidst these threats, and we believe that the New York Health Act (NYHA)—legislation that will guarantee high-quality healthcare to every resident of New York—is the clear answer.

 

The NYHA will create truly universal coverage, free choice of hospital, doctor, and provider, and it would save the state billions of dollars in total healthcare costs by reducing the excessive waste from private for-profit health insurance companies and allow for bulk purchase of drugs and medical equipment. With the NYHA, 98 percent of New Yorkers are expected to pay less than they currently do for healthcare, but they will receive more benefits as this bill covers vision, dental, hearing, and more.

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Article: RAND study on NY Health Act has something for everyone, Silberstein, TimesUnion

By Rachel Silberstein on August 1, 2018

 

Interests on both sides of New York’s universal healthcare debate are touting aspects of a new non-partisan report on Assemblyman Richard Gottfried’s NY Health Act.

A single-payer health care plan could expand coverage for all New Yorkers, but would require significant new tax revenue, according to an analysis released Wednesday by RAND Corporation, a global nonprofit policy think tank, and the private, nonpartisan New York State Health Foundation.

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LETTER: State health act offers total coverage for all, Elissa Krauss, Albany Times-Union

Yes, NYHA would end private health insurance as we know it in New York state.

But NYHA would increase choice for all New Yorkers.

Instead of being limited by private health insurance company networks, providers unwilling to care for public health insurance recipients and deductibles so high as to render insurance meaningless, all New Yorkers will have equal access to all reasonable health care services with no deductibles or co-pays.

Read the full letter at the Albany Times-Union here!

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Article: Comprehensive Health Care Critical to Fight for Equality, Periyasamy & Smith, Gay City News

BY KIMBERLEIGH SMITH AND WINN PERIYASAMY

Truly universal comprehensive health care is critical to the goal of equity for all and should be a primary objective today’s LGBTQ agenda.

Like many marginalized communities, LGBTQ people still face major gaps in insurance access, with the Center on American Progress finding that at least 15 percent still lack insurance post-Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation. However, health issues impacting this community cannot be managed without proper access to care. Barriers to accessing health care, especially for the treatment of chronic health conditions, can prevent timely treatment and result in ultimately worsened health.

While the ACA expanded access to care and provided discrimination protections for LGBTQ communities, coverage is not universal and stigma still exists. LGBTQ patients continue to experience discrimination when accessing health services and, if denied treatment, often have trouble finding alternative services. In a recent Center on American Progress survey, among patients discussing experiences of visiting health care providers, nearly 10 percent of LGBQ and nearly 30 percent of transgender patients reported being refused care because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Such interactions can prevent patients from receiving treatment, with more than one if five transgender patients reporting they avoided or postponed needed treatment due to discrimination.

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LETTER: Elect St. George for state Senate, Earl Callahan

Just got my invitation to state Sen. Jim Seward's retirement party and I can't wait to go! It's scheduled for Election Day, Nov. 6, as Joyce St. George of Delaware County becomes our voice in Albany: standing up to institutional corruption in New York state government and standing up for single-payer health instance.

Single-payer health insurance — model for the world — is a centerpiece of this small business owner's campaign. Not only would it sharply cut costs by eliminating the insurance-company paper shuffle, it would eliminate the onerous county share of Medicaid, reducing county taxes in Cayuga, Otsego, Chenango, Delaware, Cortland, Ulster, Herkimer and Schoharie counties by more than 20 percent.

Affordable health care and a sharp cut in property taxes if we elect St. George, a corruption investigator. Imagine how much we'd save if we got rid of corruption?

Read the full letter at the Auburn Citizen here!

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New Study: RAND Corporation Validates that NYS Can Afford Universal, Single-Payer Healthcare

(New York, NY)  The Campaign for New York Health welcomed a study released today from the RAND Corporation, commissioned by the New York State Health Foundation, to evaluate the economic impact of the New York Health Act (A.4738 /S.4840), legislation that would create a universal, single-payer health care system in New York State with no cost barriers to patients. The overall findings of the study reinforce the Campaign’s position that a unified, progressively-financed system that replaces the current fragmented methods of paying for healthcare will achieve greater access at lower cost than the status quo.

A key finding in the long-awaited study is that the vast majority of New Yorkers will pay less for healthcare coverage than they currently spend through premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance (percentages of fees for services). This is due to the tremendous efficiencies from cutting out wasteful administrative expenses, insurance industry profits, and overpricing of prescription drugs, which could be negotiated downward through bulk buying.

Additional highlights of the study revealed an anticipated 2% employment increase in the state, equating to an estimated 150,000 jobs, as well as increased wages for most New Yorkers. Most small and medium-size businesses will see major savings in healthcare costs when comparing the potential payroll tax rate to current insurance premiums.

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ARTICLE: Local businesses support NY Health Act, New Franklin Register

Many people worry about the cost of their own healthcare, but local business owners also worry about their employees.

“I can’t afford to offer healthcare to my coworkers,” said Faiga Brussel, owner of Good Cheap Food in Delhi. “Years ago, I tried, and quickly ran into a brick wall of financial disaster and had to backtrack. Now it is so much worse.”

Health coverage is particularly important for local farmers, well aware of their work’s physical dangers (https://goo.gl/hGXYKT).

“The occupation itself is an injury to your body,” said Eleanor Blakeslee-Drain, who owns Berry Brook Farm in Delancey. “So health insurance is a must for us.” Blakeslee-Drain, her husband, and two sons will lose Medicaid this year, because their vegetable farm now makes enough money that they no longer qualify.

“We used to joke that since giant agribusiness gets massive government subsidies to not grow corn, Medicaid was our small farm's subsidy. But without Medicaid, I'm worried that our options will either be expensive or not very good coverage."

Read the full article at the New Franklin Register here.

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LETTER: Murphy Should Hold TownHall on Healthcare, Mary Jane Kilian, Northern Westchester Examiner

About three weeks ago I took a day to visit my state senator, Terrence Murphy, in Albany to express my growing concern with rising health insurance costs. He was not available. . . . which was disappointing because, as he is someone in the medical profession, a chiropractor, I expect him to share some of my concerns. Despite expressing great interest in mitigating the opioid epidemic, he is mute about this pressing issue of rising insurance costs for all of his constituents

Our group of l7 did meet with a member of his staff. She listened attentively, assuring us she would communicate our concerns to Senator Murphy. Included in our group were health care professionals, local legislators, and constituents with stories of struggles to pay for health care and prescription drugs. Outspoken were clergy and church members who spoke of the moral and ethical right to affordable health care as a human right.

We were disheartened that Senator Murphy’s representative was unable to tell us the Senator’s positions on issues we raised, refusing to respond to our basic question ...

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SERIES: Healthcare in America, Helen Krim, This Is the Bronx

This is part of an ongoing series that gives Bronx writers a chance to share their personal stories on the state of healthcare in America.

by Helen Krim

My cousin’s son, Sammy, would have been nineteen years old in July if he had lived. He was adopted at birth by my cousin and his wife who loved him very much. They were unable to have their own biological child, but never felt the lack once they adopted Sammy. My cousin’s wife had a highly skilled technical job, and my cousin also was working.

When Sammy was six, tragedy struck. My cousin’s wife became ill, lost her hearing and her short-term memory. She became disabled and could never be left alone. She couldn’t be relied on to turn off the burner on the stove or remember that she had started to run a bath. My cousin needed to take care of her and Sammy, an overwhelming task at first.

Fortunately, they did not lose their house because of disability payments ...

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LETTER: The time’s right in New York for single-payer health care, Richard Clements, Buffalo News

For over 30 years in business as an employer, I often complained about our dysfunctional health care “system,” but with a company to run, that was all I did. Since my retirement, though, I’ve been able to devote time to working with the Campaign for NY Health, promoting rational single-payer health care for all New Yorkers.

We’re getting very close to succeeding. On June 5, the Assembly easily passed the NY Health Act for a fourth consecutive time, but the GOP-controlled Senate would not even debate it. Despite overwhelming agreement that health care should be a right, their excuse is that “it would require a massive tax increase.” Several rigorous detailed studies disagree....

 

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LETTER: Passing NY Health will benefit all, Julie Woodward & Celeste Theis, Poughkeepsie Journal

Imagine not being able to afford the insulin that keeps you alive, or a high deductible keeps you from using your insurance at all, or you’re staying in an abusive relationship or miserable job just to keep your coverage, or nursing home costs wipe out your family’s savings.

These are some of the stories we heard in Albany on June 5 from a diverse group of citizens visiting state senators Terrence Murphy and Sue Serino to urge them to support the NY Health Act (S4840/A4738). This legislation proposes a single-payer system funded by broad-based revenue and ability to pay. Neither senator seems to be in favor of it, or even talk about it openly with constituents.

Virtually everyone has a healthcare insurance “story.” ...

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SERIES: Healthcare in America, Sean Engelking, This is the Bronx

I agree with Warren Buffet who said, “medical costs are the tapeworm of American economic competitiveness.”

I face this daily: First, as the owner of a small business in New York City, and, second, as one of the thousands who deferred healthcare treatment for fear of bankruptcy.

Allow me to explain. In my small business, I see the high costs of insurance stall the mobility of first-class candidates. Those with the best qualifications are often stuck in dead-end jobs because they cannot afford to lose their expensive benefits package by jumping ship to me.

And I am always juggling the costs of growing my business with the costs of providing competitive insurance. Recently, I found a superb candidate from Austria who does not require insurance — so I am relieved of high-cost deductibles and other administrative payroll expenses.

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LETTER: Passing the NYHA will benefit all citizens, Julie Woodward & Celeste Theis, Poughkeepsie

Imagine not being able to afford the insulin that keeps you alive, or a high deductible keeps you from using your insurance at all, or you’re staying in an abusive relationship or miserable job just to keep your coverage, or nursing home costs wipe out your family’s savings.

These are some of the stories we heard in Albany on June 5 from a diverse group of citizens visiting state senators Terrence Murphy and Sue Serino to urge them to support the NY Health Act (S4840/A4738). This legislation proposes a single-payer system funded by broad-based revenue and ability to pay. Neither senator seems to be in favor of it, or even talk about it openly with constituents.

Read the rest of the letter at the Poughkeepsie Journal here.

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LETTER: Bill would provide health care for everyone, Melanie O'Brien, Watertown Daily Times

One of the most persistent misconceptions about single-payer health care is that it will cost too much. When my husband was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 30 in 2013, we had no health insurance, a young son and made about $35,000 a year. It was only through the extraordinary generosity of family, friends and even strangers were we able to pay the tens of thousands of dollars that it cost to treat him, not including the lost wages from months of being unable to work or the regular CAT scans, blood work and doctors visits he has needed for the last several years to make sure he stays cancer-free. Even after we were finally able to get insurance under the Affordable Care Act, his tests and visits have not always been covered.

How many GoFundMe pages for medical treatment have you shared on Facebook or seen pop up in your feed? Each month, I see a new flier posted around town advertising a fundraising dinner for someone’s medical expenses ...

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LETTER: Let's fight for NY Health Act, Naomi Marcus, Riverdale Press

On June 5, I joined hundreds of people from all over New York State to lobby in Albany in support of the New York Health Act. 

The New York Health Act passed the Assembly for the fourth year in a row on June 14, and would provide a comprehensive system of access to health insurance for all New York state residents....

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SERIES: Healthcare in America, Walter Carpenter, This Is the Bronx

This is part of an ongoing series in which Bronx writers share their personal stories on the state of healthcare in America.

by Walter Carpenter

I almost died eleven years ago. Initially, I had a job with insurance, but illness cost me my job. Losing my job cost me my insurance. Not being able to afford healthcare almost killed me. My story is that of a vicious, like-threatening, cycle. I’ve learned that hundreds of thousands of Americans have a similar story.

A few years earlier, I had my first episode of biliary duct obstruction and didn’t get so sick. My insurance company paid $1,500 for a cholecystectomy and, after weeks of recovery, I was almost back to normal, living my life and doing my job, but now my job didn’t include health insurance. Not all jobs do, even some that recruit you with promises of health insurance....

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Healthcare in America (#6 in series), This Is the Bronx, Alice Love

This is part of an ongoing series that gives Bronx writers a chance to share their personal stories on the state of healthcare in America.

by Alice Love

I am a registered nurse working in a doctor’s office at a major NYC medical center. Here is an example of how much time “prior-authorization” costs in a busy office. I am trained to treat patients and certified to do procedures on patients. But, if the best course of treatment is not on the “formulary” of an insurance company (which works with still another company to manage its medication approvals), I spend hours dealing with a convoluted system.

Here is what I recently needed to do to get a patient the best care possible ....

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Denying care to those with preexisting conditions, Sunny Asalam, Finger Lakes Times

The Trump administration will no longer oppose discrimination by health insurance companies against those with preexisting medical conditions, which is particularly cruel and deadly. This places 133 million Americans' ability to buy health insurance at risk.

The President seems intent on harming the population because he abhors his predecessor or is intent on increasing health insurance company profits that are soaring anyway. What makes even less sense is that this hands his political opponents a potentially thunderous win before important fall elections.

Imagine a relative of yours comes to my clinic for addiction or pain treatment. The insurance company realizes they had a previous diagnosis like pregnancy when they applied for the insurance and cancels the policy. They're found dead from injecting heroin after they can't afford to pay for treatment.

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Americans could learn from Canadian health care, Richard Clements (letter), Buffalo News

Published June 13, 2018

Sunday’s front page story, “New tariffs spark fears among local business owners,” included thoughtful, rational comments for and against Trumps’s stiff tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, but one quote from Craig Speers of the AFL-CIO stands out as candidate for bone-headed comment of the year! He called out “predatory trade practices” by Canada and European Union that supposedly “destroyed large parts of the American steel and aluminum manufacturing industries.”

As an example he points to Canada’s national health care system as unfair since “… the Canadian government frees its metals industries from a heavy cost burden that their American competitors have to bear.”

What?

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Letter: Health insurance needs an overhaul, Dr. Sunny Aslam, Auburn Citizen

The Trump administration will no longer oppose discrimination by health insurance companies against those with pre-existing medical conditions, which is particularly cruel and deadly. Your online article points out 133 million Americans ability to buy or afford health insurance will be at risk if they are successful (6/8/18, "Trump's DOJ labels the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, placing healthcare for 133 million at risk"). The president seems intent on harming the population and moving us backward, because he abhors his predecessor, or is intent on increasing health insurance company profits that are soaring anyway. What makes even less sense, is this hands his political opponents a potentially thunderous win before important fall elections.

 

Health insurance premiums could increase by an average of 24 percent next year if approved by state regulators. Insurance companies rightfully blame President Trump’s repeal of the individual mandate in his recent tax cut resulting in millions less covered by insurance, most of whom are younger and healthier. It’s more expensive to take care of an older, sicker population for insurance companies. In order to accommodate their profits, large bureaucracy and huge executive salaries, insurance companies raise premiums.

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ARTICLE: Town of Saugerties urges state lawmakers to pass New York Health Act, Daily Freeman

Several town residents speaking at a recent board meeting said the state action would reduce costs for Medicare patients.

“If you’re on traditional Medicare, you spend hundreds of dollars a month on Part B Medigap insurance and Part D pharmaceutical,” Janet Asiain said. “If you’re on the Advantage plan, you have co-pays, deductibles and all kinds of out-of-pocket expenses, which really mount up.”

Tamara Schuppin said traditional health insurance plans have deductibles that can drain bank accounts before benefits kick in.

“It would affect me in a big way if I had health care that actually covered my needs,” she said. “I currently have a plan with a $10,500 deductible, and I pay several hundred dollars for that every month. It’s not health care. It’s in case I have a catastrophe to keep ... from having our savings wiped out.”

David Minch said the state action would help improve New York’s business climate.

“It would be a magnet for New York state to have people coming back in, as businesses could be freed up of the health care [insurance] that they have to supply,” he said.

Read the full article here.

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Support New York Health Act, Barbara Estrin, Riverdale Press

On Tuesday, June 5, several Riverdale residents joined more than 500 supporters of the New York Health Act to demonstrate in Albany for its passage.

From every corner of the state, they traveled by bus, car, and even bicycle all the way from Brooklyn, in support of the bill.

They were among doctors, nurses, health care professionals, business owners, representatives of organized labor, and ordinary citizens who are convinced that this plan would benefit all New Yorkers regardless of wealth, income, age, immigration or health status.

Supported by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, the bill is likely to clear the Assembly overwhelmingly, perhaps by the time The Riverdale Presshits your mailbox.

The push for the New York Health Act comes when it seems most necessary, Republicans in the U.S. Congress are threatening cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and the Complete Health Improvement Program — or CHIP — to fund the deficits caused by their tax bill.

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