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LETTER: Attend Galef Health Care Town Hall, Tracy Basile, Cortlandt Daily Voice

No doubt many people reading this have heard of Sandy Galef’s invitation to a town hall meeting to debate the pros and cons of single-payer health care in New York State. ( Tuesday Oct 10 from 7-9 p.m. at Cortlandt Town Hall, 1 Heady St., Cortlandt Manor.) No doubt many of you are asking “but, who will pay for this? Aren’t our taxes high enough?” As a nation we desperately need health care reform. Let’s work together to fix it. Not for the rich. Not for the middle class. But for us all. For the guy who cuts your lawn, and the woman who cleans your house, for the adjunct professor who teaches your college kids, and the young man who works in the deli. So many American jobs are part time or off the books specifically to save employers money and/or taxes. It’s time we all woke up. 

Read the full letter at the Cortlandt Daily Voice here.

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LETTER: Passing health care reform in New York isn't easy, Senator Jeffrey Klein, Riverdale Press

I am a firm supporter of the New York Health Act, which would provide universal health coverage for all New Yorkers. 

Unfortunately, as last session came to a close, this important piece of legislation was one vote short of having the ability to pass the senate. In my leadership position, I was asked to make a promise to shed light on the benefits of single-payer health care by having a senate hearing on this bill. I remain committed to doing so.

The benefits to having a hearing on this important issue in the senate is two-fold. First, as previously stated, last session, we were one vote short of having the requisite votes needed to pass the New York Health Act. This January, we will be short two votes, and potentially more. By holding a hearing in the state senate, we can educate all state senators on the benefits of single-payer health care for New York.

Read the full letter at the Riverdale Press here.

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LETTER: Health care is being undermined, Edith Frank, Riverdale Press

Thank you for your editorial in the Sept. 28 issue of The Riverdale Press that clearly delineates the ways in which Sen. Jeff Klein has been undermining the passage of a single-payer health care bill in the New York State legislature, while publicly stating that he supports it.

I believe that the proposed single-payer bill is the most efficient way to reduce overhead costs in health care. It also maximizes patient choice of providers and reduces outside interference (i.e., from insurance companies) in medical decision-making between patient and provider.

Read the full letter at the Riverdale Press here.

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State single-payer health care could be supported by Cuomo, City and State

NEW YORK — Last month, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the once and perhaps future presidential candidate, unveiled legislation to create a single-payer health care system. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, another potential presidential candidate in 2020, was one of 16 senators to sign on as a co-sponsor of the Medicare for All Act. And Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who’s also on short lists of likely Democratic presidential contenders, offered his support for the proposal as well.

In an interview on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show,” Cuomo called the federal plan, which would make health care universal and publicly funded by the taxpayer, “a good idea.” Read the full story at City & State.

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LETTER: A secret about New York healthcare, Madeline Zevon, The White Plains Examiner

Many people are unaware of how close the state of New York came this year to passing single-payer health care. In the last Legislative session the New York Health Act passed in the state Assembly by 94 to 46 and in the State Senate, it had 31 co-sponsors, just one vote short of a majority. Yet, little was reported. More was said in the New York Times about the California single-payer bill than the New York Health bill.

Read the full letter at the White Plains Examiner here.

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LETTER: Bringing single payer to New York, Patricia Mann, Cortlandt Daily Voice

Every other developed country offers its people universal healthcare – covering everyone birth to grave — spending half what we spend, with better health outcomes than we have. Our state is uniquely positioned to protect New Yorkers from the ravages of deep cuts to our healthcare, both by Congress and by executive action.

Read the full letter at the Cortlandt Daily Voice here.

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Universal health care depends on just one senator we all know, Riverdale Press

RIVERDALE — Just like the horror movie where the scary monster just won’t die no matter how many times you stab and electrocute it, Republican efforts to simply repeal the Affordable Care Act in the U.S. Senate somehow find a way back to the world of the living.

It is quite possible, despite opposition from the likes of Rand Paul and John McCain, the Senate may have voted at least once more on a repeal bill by the time you read these words. And whether or not they are successful, the future of health care for New Yorkers — especially those of us in Riverdale and Kingsbridge — lies not with those in the U.S. Senate, but actually the men and women who make up the state senate. Read the full story at The Riverdale Press.

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LETTER: Speaking in support of New York Health, Betty Gallagher, Glens Falls Post-Star

Heaven help us! The Republicans are at it again with the same nasty bag of tricks called Trumpcare. To attack Americans with the same rejected health care proposal- only worse this time- is nothing short of folly.

Read the full letter at the Glens Falls Post Star here.

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LETTER: Universal healthcare would solve crisis of uninsured, Dr. Richard Weiskopf, Kaye Jager RN, Dr. Joel Potash, Syracuse.com

A commentary published Sept. 14 ("How many are insured because of Obamacare? Good question") points out the challenge of assessing the Affordable Care Act's impact on closing the insurance gap. Focusing strictly on health "insurance" coverage obscures the crisis in healthcare access across the country that millions continue to live without access to needed health care. In New York, since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, there are still 1.5 million individuals without health insurance and countless more who are underinsured -- that is they have insurance but can't access healthcare they need due to high co-pays, deductibles, and rising drug costs.

In a system dominated by private health insurance corporations, those with high incomes can afford adequate health care, while the poor and many middle class cannot. The consequences are tragic. According to a Harvard Study, 45,000 Americans die each year for lack of health insurance. Medical bills contribute to more that 60 percent of all bankruptcies, and most people who file for medical debt related bankruptcy had insurance when they got sick.

Read the full letter at Syracuse.com here.

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LETTER: Galef hosting forum on health care, Assemblywoman Sandra Galef, Cortlandt Daily Voice

On Tuesday, October 10th, I am hosting a Town Hall meeting to discuss the pros and cons of a single payer healthcare system in New York State. I have gotten many emails and phone calls from my constituents asking about what the single payer healthcare system is, and what it will do. This forum provides an opportunity to address any questions you may have.

Read the full letter at the Daily Voice here.

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LETTER: National health care program would benefit all, Anne Coen Mccabe, Poughkeepsie Journal

Health insurance rates have been rising since the beginning of 2017. Republican trumpeted efforts gutting the Affordable Care Act entirely and the Trump administration’s gutting by 90 percent of the ACA advertising budget have reduced enrollment in the program and made insurance companies nervous about the future, whence the precipitous climb of insurance premiums.

So, what plan have the Republicans to offer instead? Well, much is not clear, but from what has been released as of Sept. 19, 16 groups, including The American Cancer Society, representing patients and health care providers oppose the Republicans’ newest attempt at repeal and replace, the Graham-Cassidy Bill.

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

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LETTERS: Can a "single-payer" health system work in America? letters by John R. Wisdom, Chris Protopapas, Judith Greene, and Marian Solomon Libinsky

Yes, our superior resources allow for those with means to survive some killer diseases, but the concept of universal health care surely is to wrap all citizens in the comfort of a carefree safety net whatever their financial status. How can we tear down other nations’ systems when our population ranks 31st in life expectancy according to the World Health Organization?

Read more letters at the New York Times here.

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LETTER: Canadian health model would work in America, Richard Clements, Buffalo News

Fifty years ago, Canada replaced its private health insurance morass with single payer, universal, tax-funded basic health care insurance without deductibles or copays. At that time, insurance interests fought using the same arguments we’re hearing: Socialism is bad; overwhelming costs will destroy the economy; quality of care will plummet.

So, how is Canada doing five decades later? Just fine! 

Read the rest of the letter at the Buffalo News here.

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LETTER: We need to take the profit out of health care, Michael J. McGraw, Albany Daily Gazette

Why is it when discussions and legislative proposals regarding single-payer or Medicare for all come to light, opposition in the form of laissez-fare, for-profit vitriol spewed by the acolytes of free market religiosity come crawling out from under the slimy rocks of greed and exploitation? This robber baron mentality of profit motives from the level of care, or lack thereof, needs to be expunged from the equation of providing health care in general.
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LETTERS: Why Medicare for All Will/Won't Work, letters by Ellen Oxfeld and Elizabeth Rosenthal, New York Times

Senator Sanders’s Medicare for All Act merits strong support from all political constituencies.

For conservatives, Medicare for All (single payer) should appeal because it will control costs. With Medicare for All, one payer sets prices, so hospitals and drug companies can no longer gouge us. Administrative costs, currently estimated to be as much as one-third of every health care dollar, will be significantly reduced without the complexities of billing multiple insurers and plans.

Read the full letter at the New York Times here.

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LETTER: Universal health care would save businesses billions, Dr. Sunny Aslam, Syracuse Post Standard

Dr. Dennis Nave writes a vital prescription in "Working Americans need affordable health care, quality education," (Sept. 1, 2017). Those who build our economy should have what all other developed countries have: universal, guaranteed healthcare. We simply need the political will to get there.

Not only workers benefit from universal healthcare; businesses do. The New York Health Act -- one state Senate sponsor away from a majority -- would save employers billions by providing a simplified plan that covers all medically necessary care. Imagine your business model if all of your employees and customers have health coverage! State Sens. John DeFrancisco, Patty Ritchie and Pam Helming could tip the balance by sponsoring the New York Health Act.

Medicare-for-all (HR 676) in the U.S. House of Representatives has 117 co-sponsors. We need Republicans like Rep. John Katko, who voted against the American Health Care Act and supports Medicare, to sign on to expanded Medicare-for-all.

Read the full letter at the Syracuse Post-Standard here.

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LETTER: Health care is a human right, Catherine Wolf, Long Island Examiner

The headline reads “Armonk Woman’s Medicaid Battle Imperils Her Health Care” — while the article explains how it threatens her health and life. It omits the solution increasing number of New Yorkers are calling for: the universal, comprehensive, low-cost coverage of the NY Health Act.

Read the full letter at the Examiner here.

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LETTER: Medicare for all is the solution, Dr. Sunny Aslam, Auburn Citizen

Labor Day is a reminder to thank the working people who are building this country. We could also ask how we could improve life for working people.

Those who build our economy should have what all other developed countries have: universal, guaranteed health care. We simply need the political will to get there.

Not only workers benefit from universal health care; businesses do. The New York Health Act—one state senate sponsor away from a majority—would save employers billions by providing a simplified plan that covers all medically necessary care. Imagine your business model if all of your employees and customers have health coverage! State Sens. DeFrancisco, Ritchie and Helming could tip the balance by sponsoring the New York Health Act.

Read the rest of the letter at the Auburn Citizen here.

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LETTER: Stand up for single-payer health care, Renee Shanker, Riverdale Press

After a long and painful struggle to maintain the Affordable Care Act, 30 million individuals still lack basic health care. Furthermore, high administrative costs and subsidies to stabilize the insurance market continue to place a heavy and unnecessary financial burden on taxpayers.

A single-payer system would eliminate added costs imposed by insurance companies, and extend care to all who need it.

According to one Kaiser poll, 58 percent of Americans favor Medicare for all. However, powerful special interest groups that reap huge profits from the status quo influence legislators in Washington and Albany to oppose legislation of this kind.

Read the full letter at the Riverdale Press here.

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LETTER: Health care in New York, Richard Gottfried, New York Times

The basic flaw in the Affordable Care Act is that it leaves us in the hands of insurance companies. That means rising premiums and deductibles, restricted provider networks and high out-of-network charges; huge multiple administrative bureaucracies and profits; and the costs that doctors and hospitals incur for dealing with them.

We should start with a basic principle: No American should be denied health care or suffer financially trying to pay for it. What makes that “tricky” — and forces health policy into contortions — is insisting on taking care of insurance companies and their hefty costs and finances.

Read the full letter at the New York Times here.

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LETTER: Single-payer system provides care incentives, Steve Keller, Albany Times-Union

... 

If we consider the experience of Dowling's brother, we should also consider the hundreds of millions of Europeans and Canadians for whom publicly financed health care is cheaper, outcomes are better and satisfaction is higher. To them, our system isn't "innovative," as Levy says — it's a mess, and not one to emulate.

Levy claims Europeans "flock to the U.S. by the thousands." Compare that difficult-to-verify statistic against the 1.4 million Americans who were projected to travel elsewhere for medical care last year. It's no wonder, since the U.S. routinely comes in last in health outcomes among developed countries.

Read the full letter at the Times-Union here.

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LETTER: Profits should not drive health care, Ahmed Nizar, Auburn Citizen

I am a father, husband and board-certified clinical psychiatrist at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse and medical director of CPEP (Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program).

I strongly believe health care is a right for all. It should be available without a cost burden as a healthy person is a productive person. Also, health care is not a commodity like an iPhone but essential to our wellness as a society. Yet the United States is the only industrialized country where health care is a commodity where people make profits on the back of sickness. 

Read the full letter at the Citizen here.

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LETTER: Support 'single-payer' health care in New York, Catherine Wolf, Albany Times-Union

Wouldn’t you like to make decisions about treatments and drugs with your doctor, without an insurance company intervening in your decisions? Wouldn’t you like to receive no or minimal bills for health care? It’s possible with a single payer health care system.
 
The Assembly has passed a single payer health care bill (A4738); the New York Senate version remained in committee (S4840). That’s one reason why I will be voting for Democrat Robert Kesten who will be running against the republican incumbent Terrence Murphy in the 40th New York State Senate District in 2018. Murphy does not support single payer. 

Read the rest of the letter here at the Times-Union here. 

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LETTER: Time for health care for all, Helen Krim, The Riverdale Press,

We hear a great deal about the 20 million people who will lose health care with the current proposals for repealing the Affordable Care Act. Under the ACA, we still have 30 million people without access to medical care, so with the proposed cuts, we would see 50 million people without access to medical care.

Our population is only 320 million.

We also hear that 30 percent of the premiums we pay to insurance companies do not go to medical care. That is a lot of money — billions. The premiums pay for administrative costs, CEO salaries, and dividends to shareholders. In addition, in order to keep the insurance companies in business and “stabilize the market,” we pay subsidies (corporate welfare) to the insurance companies out of our taxes.

I do not think we can afford this. We, the public, are paying money to support an industry that doesn’t actually do anything but push paper and money around, and neglects 50 million people.

Read the full letter at the Riverdale Press here.

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LETTER: Health care story was informative, Betty Gallagher, Glens Falls Post-Star

Thank you, Post-Star, for your very informative articles about how American health care compares to health care in the rest of the world. As citizens and voters we need to know these facts which are apparently being completely ignored by our government. Republican lawmakers, intent on rushing through any wretched “plan” that will eradicate the name and accomplishments of President Obama, seem oblivious to the fact that a market-based system will never provide adequate, affordable health care for all.

Read the full letter at the Post-Star here

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LETTER: Give universal health care a chance, Muguette Martel, Albany Times-Union

Thank you for your side-by-side publishing of the commentaries on single payer health insurance from Assemblyman Phil Steck, D-Colonie, ("Case for single payer?" July 16) and Dr. John D. Bennett, president and CEO of Capital District Physicians Health Plan ("There's really no such thing as a free health plan," July 16).

It illustrated perfectly the contrast between Steck's concern for the problems of the citizenry and medical professionals vs. Bennett's concern for the medical insurance industry, and perhaps for his more-than-$1 million compensation package.

Read the full letter at the Times-Union here.

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LETTER: Health care story was thought-provoking, David Bunn, Glens Falls Post-Star

The Sunday front page article on U.S. health care precipitated some thoughts. First, I am suspect that the U.S. ranks below some of these countries like Syria, Turkey, Ethiopia and Libya in some categories. However, the general message was clear. Second, it seems to me that we should at least look at health care system that we could study and learn from. Are there possibly five or seven experts in the U.S. that we could count on (independent of politics and not bought by some entity) to do a comprehensive study of some form of single-payer.

Read the full article at the Post-Star here.

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LETTER: NY Health Act isn't so scary, Sarah Outterson-Murphy, Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin

Readers of Sara Price’s letter “Don’t concentrate power in Albany” (July 14), are led to believe that a rather simple, common sense plan to provide the people of our state with good health care, at a considerable savings from what they now spend trying to get health care, is a grave and imminent danger. Scary stuff, but not half as scary as the current system.

Read the full letter at the Press and Sun-Bulletin here.

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LETTER: A call to sponsor the NY Health Act, Dr. Sunny Aslam, Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin

“AHCA health care cuts would harm upstate economy” (pressconnects.com, July 6) is a call to action for our representatives. We need to go beyond plans to gut our public health system costing jobs and lives.

Millions would lose insurance and funding for the poor and elderly would disappear. The bill should be opposed by our senators and Rep. Tenney.

I work as a physician at a public clinic providing mental health care. Every day I see patients' care compromised by the broken health system we have. Those covered by Medicaid, now controlled by private insurance companies, see their coverage canceled or lapse. Medications require burdensome paperwork for approval. Those who are in the working class often don't qualify for Medicaid and can't afford the skyrocketing premiums, deductible and co pays from insurance exchanges.

Sen. Gillibrand has joined a growing group of senators who support improved and expanded Medicare for all. In New York, we are one state senator away from passing the New York Health Act, which would also provide universal coverage. State Sens. Seward and Akshar should co-sponsor the New York Health Act. Our health and businesses depend on it.

Read the letter at the Press and Sun-Bulletin here.

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LETTER: NY Health Act would save billions, David F. Lehmann, Auburn Citizen

"GOP health care divisions multiply as Trump pressures Senate" (The Citizen website, 7/10/17) reveals the ruling party's backup plan is to simply repeal the Affordable Care Act or continue throwing money at a wasteful system that is unaffordable for millions.

The only plan that would save money and control costs would be an improved and expanded Medicare for all system. Billions would be saved by using Medicare, which has 2 percent administrative costs as compared to 12 percent by private insurance. Not to mention the profits private insurance take to deny care.

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