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 Health; Housing 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.
‘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 aGoFundMe 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 itsNew Yorkstate 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 theUS healthcaresystem 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.
“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 groupbought $1min TV ads to run this spring beforea billwas 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, andtold CNBCin 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.
“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.”
Rochester Advocates Push for the New York Health Act
By Lowell RoseRochester
UPDATED 10:31 PM ET Mar. 05, 2021PUBLISHED 10:17 PM ET Mar. 05, 2021
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — After years of trying to get the New York Health Act passed in the state legislature, advocates are pushing again.
“Insurance should not be an issue between life or death, between having a limb or not having a limb, we have to fix this,” Rev. Myra Brown, pastor of Spiritus Christi Church.
The New York Health Act would give access to healthcare for all state residents, and a person’s income, health or immigration status would not be an issue. Coverage would also be based on income, rather than insurance company rates.
For years, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried has introduced a bill creating a single-payer health care system in New York. Gottfried and Sen. Gustavo Rivera on Monday reintroduced the measure on Monday.
And this year, with a pandemic claiming tens of thousands of lives in New York and exposing new cracks in the health care system, is different, advocates for the measure said.
“New Yorkers elected a Democratic super-majority in the middle of a pandemic as a mandate to enact bold transformational changes, including the New York Health Act,” said Ursula Rozum, the co-director of the Campaign for NY Health. “This bill must be central to a just and equitable recovery from this pandemic and brought to a vote this year.”
What would New York be like if some Democrats gettheir way and pass the New York Health Act— the legislation that would create a general public single-payer health care system for the first time anywhere in the United States?
“In medical school, we never get any education on how health insurance works,” Tharakan said. “We learn all the science, but nothing about the money or insurance or malpractice or anything.”
But one of the biggest questions is how would New York pay for it? In fact, that’s one of the key factors that prevented the New York Health Act from coming up this past session, and will likely continue to curtail it until those issues are worked out.
“You want to do it right, and not sloppy,” said state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, who campaigned as a proponent of the New York Health Act. “If we’re going to do this, we can’t fail. It would just provide ammunition to the arguments on why this program doesn’t work, so we have to do it right.”
PUBLICFORUM — Residents can gain more information about the New York Health Act next month at an event, titled “Amherst Single Payer Public Forum.” The event will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8, at the Clearfield Library, 770 Hopkins Road.
The legislation is progressing through Albany, and a panel of experts will explain how public-funded, universal single-payer health insurance will impact every New York resident.
The panel of experts will include Kevin Ketchum, attorney; Brian Nowak, Town of Cheektowaga councilman; Joseph Testa, M.D., family medicine; Richard Clements, retired business executive; and Frances Ilozue, M.D., Rapha Family Medicine.
Attendees will be able to learn more about and understand the NY Health Act legislation, what it would change, whom it would benefit and how it would impact taxes. For more information, visit Campaign for NY Health at www.nyhcampaign.org, or search WNY Healthcare for All on Facebook.
The Constitutional Convention's identification of 'the general welfare' as an explicit goal of government was the foundation for postal roads, highways, Social Security and more.
By Robert Buonaspina, Dec 19, 2019
Robert Buonaspina is an Elected Steering Committee Member of Long Island Activists and a History Teacher at Locust Valley High School, Locust Valley, New York with over 25 years experience.
“Promoting the general welfare” is a part of our social DNA. It is featured in the United States Constitution in the Preamble and tasked to Congress to do in Article 1 Section 8. It is part of their job scope to ensure that the general welfare needs of our people are met.
Also noted in our foundational document, as part of servicing the general welfare needs of the people, was the creation of “postal roads,” along with post offices, as resources needed by Americans. The Founding Fathers also called for the creation of free public libraries to keep our citizens informed and educated.
In short order, developing out what was meant by “general welfare” grew as the nation grew. In the early 1800s, with the construction of the Erie Canal, the government funded in the Northeast a fairly involved effort to improve upon the transportation needs of the growing country.
Also occurring during the first few decades of the new nation was the formation of free public schools to educate our population. Via the efforts of Horace Mann, Massachusetts became the first state to provide a public education to its state’s citizens. In time, as part of serving the general welfare needs of the nation, a free public education from K-12 became the norm....
New York Senate District 17 for Progress, a group of progressive activists and organizers in Borough Park and Midwood, are rebranding their organization as South Central Brooklyn United for Progress (SCBUP). With the new name comes hope for political change and a broader impact in 2020….
The organization has grown to roughly 40 regular members in addition to a 14-person executive board. Their newsletter reaches 700 Brooklynites.
As membership grew, SCBUP formed committees to advocate for the changes that community members felt were most pressing. Those topics range from traffic safety to ICE raids to health care.
“We recently hosted an event at a church in Park Slope where we spread the word about the NY Health Act and hopefully built momentum on how we can build support, get this passed and provide a national model for single-payer [health insurance],” said Herbst. “We can lead the way.”…
NYS could be close to doing at the state level what is being discussed at national level
Interview by Paul Feiner with Madeline Zevon and Joanne Reich, December 9, 2019
Mr. Feiner is Town of Greenburgh Supervisor, Ms. Zevon is co-chair of the NYS & Westchester League of Women Voters Health Care Committee, and Ms. Reich is with the Greenburgh Health Care Committee and a member of the LWV committee
Most residents of NY, Westchester and Greenburgh are unaware that NYS could be close to doing at the state level what lawmakers are talking about at the national level – the NYS Health Care Act covers everyone while saving money. I was surprised to learn that the State Assembly approved the legislation by a 2/3rd margin 4 times and in the State Senate there are 31 co-sponsors—only one vote short of a majority. Will there be a vote in 2020? Will NYS lead the way?
KINGSTON, N.Y. — State Sen. Jen Metzger says she favors a law allowing for single-payer health care in New York.
But the freshman lawmaker from Rosendale is not sure if the measure, known as the New York Health Act, will draw a favorable nod from a majority of Senate colleagues.
“You know, it always comes down to whether (we) turn out the votes,” Metzger, a Democrat, said during a live-stream Freeman interview Thursday. “Certainly there is strong support in the Senate, support that didn’t exist before but it has to have a majority of votes and we will see what happens.”
“I can’t really predict what would happen because it really comes down to the votes in the state senate and making sure we have a majority,” said Metzger, who represents the 42nd Senate District.
The New York state Legislature begins its next session in January.
Sharing personal struggles and expert testimony, dozens testified in support of the New York Health Act
Kingston, NY— The fourth and final in a series of regional public hearings on the New York Health Act [A.5248, S.3577] convened in Kingston today. In a packed room, dozens of people testified to the Assembly and Senate Health Committees in support of the New York Health Act, including Hudson Valley residents, representatives from labor, healthcare and social service providers, small businesses, workers, patients, and care-workers.
William Hsiao knows more about single payer systems than pretty much any other American. What does he think about ‘Medicare for All’?
By Maura Reynolds, Nov 25, 2019
Plenty of Americans have opinions about single-payer health systems like “Medicare for All,” and some have even studied them closely. But vanishingly few individuals in the world have actually built one from scratch.
One who has is William Hsiao.
A health care economist now retired from Harvard University, Hsiao designed a national health care system for Taiwan in the 1990s, and helped manage that country’s transition from American-style employer-based insurance to a national single-payer system. He has also designed single-payer reform programs for Cyprus, Colombia and China. And not too long ago, after Vermont voted in 2011 to enact a statewide single-payer system, he worked on what would have been called Green Mountain Care, a project that eventually collapsed because of concerns over financing.
This all gives Hsiao a nearly unique vantage point on the current U.S. debate over Medicare for All. And while he’s a fan of single-payer health care, which he thinks leads both to better health and greater efficiency, he’s a pessimist about its chances to take root in the United States.
The reason? It’s not the economics. It’s the politics.
Given the public’s attachment to doctors and concerns about their own health, Hsiao says there’s a powerful “fear factor” associated with any major change — one easy for opponents to exploit, and hard to overcome. Fans of Medicare for All haven’t yet grappled with the heavy lift of educating the public enough to overcome people’s attachment to the status quo, and the powerful forces that can fan their anxieties....
KINGSTON — Constance Rudd, a 77-year-old retiree, said it was getting Lyme disease this year from a tick bite that helped turn her into a staunch supporter of a single-payer approach to health insurance coverage.
"I found out I'm not as immortal as I thought I was," the Ulster County resident said Monday after demonstrating in support of legislation that would radically transform how medical care is financed in New York, with advocates calling for a state government takeover of the current approach of health insurers offering a menu of plans.
At a hearing on matching bills that have been filed in the state Assembly and Senate, a panel of lawmakers listened to former patients share stories of what they called aggravating experiences with health insurers. They also heard from representatives of the insurance industry who warned a single payer, government-run system would be unaffordable and would not deliver on the promises touted by the legislation….
KINGSTON, N.Y. — Some 80 supporters of the New York Health Act gathered Monday morning outside the Ulster County Office Building, posters and other props in hand, prior to a state Legislature public hearing on the proposed single-payer plan.
The hearing, the last of four held across the state, drew a packed house in the county Legislature's chamber.
Opponents also were on hand at the rally, including one who parked a truck in front of the building that bore a painted message stating reasons to reject the plan: billions of dollars in new taxes, jobs at risk and hospital losses.
State Sen. Gustavo Rivera, a sponsor of the legislation, called that message "misinformation." In fact, the Bronx Democrat said, a hospital in his district at which 70 percent of patients are on Medicaid would become more stable.
The current jumble of healthcare plans has left millions of people without adequate or affordable healthcare. Single payer plans like the New York Health Act offer comprehensive healthcare coverage, including hearing aids, dental, vision, prescriptions and more to all, regardless of age, income, existing medical conditions, employment or immigration status. There are no premiums, co-pays, deductibles, out-of-pocket or out of network expenses, and you choose your own medical providers. Program cost is based on a graduated income scale. People with $25,000 a year or less pay nothing at all.
This is how the Affordable Care Act was supposed to work before the for-profit insurance industry wrecked it. The NY Health Act is not an unaffordable pipe dream. Financial analysis by UMASS/Amherst Economics Dept. Chairman Gerald Friedman found that 98 percent of New Yorkers will pay much less for a lot better healthcare under NY Health. Even with the greatly expanded coverage, there is a net savings for New York of $45 billion a year.
The NY Health plan is a silver bullet cure for what ails our current healthcare system. With funding cutbacks and spiraling healthcare costs, when people can’t afford the healthcare they need, we cannot allow this vital legislation, that will benefit so many, to be blocked by a special interest few. There is no room for profiteering in healthcare. We must pass the NY Health Act now. It will save lives, it will save money, and it’s the right thing to do.
November 21, 2019, Albany, NY – Activists from a coalition of healthcare professionals, unions and grassroots groups picketed the annual conference of the New York Health Plan Association (NYHPA), a trade association for the state’s health insurance companies.
One week ago, advocates were shocked when NYHPA canceled the paid registration for Stillwater resident Scott Desnoyers to attend the meeting. Scott recently wrote an OpEd about his son’s tragic death. After missing a premium payment of $20, FidelisCare canceled his plan, which prevented him from being able to afford life-saving anti-depression medication, after which he committed suicide. (FidelisCare had $60 billion in revenue in 2018.) This morning, when Desnoyers attempted to enter the conference with his family and a letterdetailing this outrageous story to the industry leaders responsible, he was manhandled and summarily ejected from the building - for video, click here.
KINGSTON, N.Y. — The final public hearing on the state Legislature's move toward creating a single-payer health care system in New York will be held Monday at the Ulster County Office Building in Kingston.
The hearing, being held by the health committees of the state Assembly and Senate, is scheduled for 10 a.m. on the sixth floor of the County Office Building, 244 Fair St. It will be preceded, at 9 a.m., by a rally and press conference outside the building, put on by supporters of the New York Health Act.
“Hudson Valley residents will be joining health care providers, nurses, labor leaders and members, patients, businesses and care givers to rally before the public hearing," a press release about the event states….
I’m a 28-year-old lifetime resident of the town of Ulster. For nearly 10 years, I have been living at home with the help of 24-hour personal care, after a spinal cord injury in late 2009 left me a quadriplegic.
The state of New York, like the rest of the United States, is at a crossroads of a growing home care crisis. Medical advancements and a growing understanding of human health have us living longer and surviving injuries that once were death sentences. Over time, this has created an inevitable increase in the need for quality, community-based long-term care.
New York could be the first state to not only create a universal health care system, but one that covers comprehensive long-term care coverage — one of the most critical, yet overlooked, components of a stable health care infrastructure.
Opponents of universal coverage who argue it is unaffordable fail to consider the heavy cost society already pays through the lack of coverage that leaves individuals sick, unemployed and in need of support. We all desire to live out our days at home, as independently as possible, with dignity. But the systems necessary to adequately fulfill that desire are woefully ill-equipped to satisfy such a demand.
Join me and the Caring Majority campaign at 10 a.m. Nov. 25 at the Ulster County Office Building, 244 Fair St., Kingston, where state legislators will be holding their second public hearing on the latest iteration of the New York Health Act, and help us make history.
Dr. Rodberg is the research director, NY Metro Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program
A universal, state-funded health care plan would benefit every New Yorker. Surely the residents of the richest state in the richest nation on Earth can afford the right to health care that residents of every other advanced country already enjoy. As a board member of the Campaign for New York Health, I know that many studies conducted by us and others have shown that the taxes to fund New York Health Act would, in fact, be substantially less than what private insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles now cost us, and they would be fairer, based on ability to pay. We should demand that our Legislature take this opportunity to do something wonderful for the residents of this state and make universal, comprehensive, affordable health care available to all of us.
By Zachary Folk, Nov 5, 2019 at 8:54 pm by West Sider
New York state politicians have been discussing a Medicare for All-type health insurance system for nearly 30 years. But never before has the New York Health Act seemed so achievable as it does today, politicians said at a forum on Monday.
State Senator Robert Jackson, who represents parts of the Upper West Side, along with Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill, hosted a town hall at the West End Collegiate Church on 77th Street on Monday to discuss the proposed bill with the community. Jackson was joined by Assemblymembers Richard Gottfried and Linda Rosenthal, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, and Carlyn Cowen, chief policy and public affairs officer for the Chinese-American Planning Council. Assemblyman Gottfried and Senator Rivera both chair the health committees in their respective chambers of the legislature. They were joined by several community members and healthcare professionals who testified on the urgent need for universal healthcare.
NYHA would provide all 20 million New Yorkers with the same services currently provided by Medicare, but without copays and deductibles. “It would cover all 20 million of us regardless of age, or income, or immigration status, or anything else,” Gottfried said. In addition to covering primary care, it would also cover things like prescription fees, dental, and long-term care – going far beyond what most plans on the healthcare marketplace offer. NYHA would also eliminate restricted provider networks, allowing patients to choose which doctor they want to see without having to worry about out-of-network charges….
A livestream of the town hall can be found at Senator Jackson’s Twitter feed (@SenatorRJackson). If you have any questions about NYHA, the senator will be hosting another town hall on November 12, at the Y.M. & Y.W.H.A. at 54 Nagle Ave.
Rachel Madley, 24, had just entered high school when her doctor diagnosed her with Type 1 diabetes. From that point on, her life became a living nightmare. Her parents had to go into debt to afford her treatment. More egregiously, she constantly had to fight with her insurance company to get the medicine she needed.
She recalled one particular incident in college when she risked going a weekend without insulin – which, as a diabetic, is life-threatening.
“I started the process a few weeks before so I could be sure that I would get insulin,” recalled Madley. “My insurance company either denied it multiple times or tried to charge me the full price for it. I went to the pharmacy to try and get a refill, and it was not going through with my insurance, or it was showing up with a $400 out-of-pocket cost. So I called my insurance company, and they were closed for a three-day weekend. I panicked; I didn’t know what to do. But luckily, my pharmacist saw how stressed I was, and she actually gave me the insulin at no charge until we could figure things out.
What the experience taught me is that insurance companies value profit over my life, and over everyone’s life” ….
While Democrats running for president debate whether to enact Medicare for All, state-level politicians are working to rally support for a bill that would create a single-payer system in New York state.
The New York Health Act would transform health care in the state, so that it would be paid for by government sources, including state and federal tax dollars and new payroll taxes. It would eliminate premiums, deductibles, co-pays and out-of-network charges.
On Monday, State Senator Robert Jackson will hold a forum on the act with the bill’s sponsors, Assemblymember Dick Gottfried and State Senator Gustavo Rivera, as well as Assembly member Linda Rosenthal and Carlyn Cowen from the Chinese-American Planning Council.
It starts at 6 p.m. Monday at the West End Collegiate Church, 245 W. 77th St. between Broadway and West End Avenue. You can RSVP on Eventbrite here.
There’s more info on the act here, and the payment breakdown is below.
That’s why Barbara Estrin and many others braved the early December cold to rally on city hall’s steps on Dec. 3. It was the second time members of Not 62: The Campaign for a Healthy Bronx, have spoken out for better health care in the borough.
Members like Estrin weren’t asking for anything outlandish or unrealistic from the city. Instead, they asked that the Bronx have what the other four boroughs have — equitable health care.
Each year, the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranks the country’s more than 3,000 counties based on how healthy their populations are. It studies how factors like length and quality of life, health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment have profound effects depending on geography.
Bronx County — as it has since the study began in 2010 — ranked dead last out of New York’s 62 counties….
Mr. Sweeney, you’re right: “Whoever pays the piper calls the tune.” Today, for-profit health insurance “calls the tune,” dictating to doctors, undermining American health care.
Recently, Medical Economics described physicians “in a tug-of-war between what is right for their patients” and corporate-run insurance: “I or my staff members spend the majority of our weeks on the phone and doing paperwork (often denied, and re-sent, having to do again) on our patients’ behalf.”
It’s not “baloney.”
For-profit insurance devours half the doctor’s week. The advocates you decry want our medical practitioners — internists, dentists, ENTs, therapists, etc. — to give (and get) evidence-based health care without interfering middlemen stealing time, increasing costs, and harming our health.
Someday, you’ll be eligible for Medicare. Will you refuse it because it socializes risk of medical catastrophe? Will you refuse firefighters — socialized risk of our home burning? Do you refuse police assistance — socialized risk against crime?
They filled the sidewalk in front of the Bronx Library Center in Fordham last week, carrying signs and chanting their displeasure with the current health coverage system in the state.
“What do we want? Health care! When do we want it? Now!”
That was the scene outside of the latest hearing on the proposed New York Health Act led by state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, taking place in a borough that is known as New York’s unhealthiest.
The megaphone-enhanced chants could be heard from East Kingsbridge Road to inside the library, where Rivera and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried were set to host the 10-hour hearing.
“I have been working on this bill for 27 years,” Gottfriend said. “Except for people whose job it is to defend the current system, nobody has ever told me that they love their health coverage, or they love their deductibles, or co-pays and their restricted provider networks.”
That bill, the New York Health Act, shares similarities with Medicare and Canada’s current health care system. But lawmakers and advocates pushing this single-payer option through says what they’ve put together is better....
The big news concerning the state of health care in New York this week came from The Wall Street Journal which reported that “New Yorkers are waiting hours and lining up down the street to tell state legislators the same refrain: fix health care.” The crowds are showing up to testify as legislators seek information about “the New York Health Act, which would establish universal, guaranteed health care across the state with a single-payer plan.” as the Journal reported.
Where do legislators get the idea that this is a state concern and should not be left to private enterprise or the federal government? From the state Constitution, that’s where.
As the bill’s sponsors point out, the Constitution holds that “The protection and promotion of the health of the inhabitants of the state are matters of public concern and provision therefor shall be made by the state and by such of its subdivisions and in such manner, and by such means as the legislature shall from time to time determine.”
The plan being considered at these legislative hearings around the state starts by assuming that federal and state funds now used to provide health care would be available to the new program, a logical approach but one that might have to overcome the kinds of political objections that have greeted Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and any other attempt to provide a broad-based system similar to the ones offered in every other developed nation, places where health outcomes are better than ours as is access to all sorts of health care and patient satisfaction. After all, the only category in which the United States leads the world when it comes to health care is cost....