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VIDEO: Bronx Public Hearing: The New York Health Act, NYS Senate & Assembly Health Committees

Oct 23, 2019 in The Bronx Library Center, Members of the NYS Senate and Assembly Health Committees take public testimony on NYHA

Senate and Assembly Health Committee Chairs Gustavo Rivera and Richard Gottfried will take testimony to examine the New York Health Act. This is part of a series of hearings on this topic to gather input from around the state.

Cost remains a primary obstacle to accessing healthcare whether an individual is insured, underinsured or uninsured and those that are able to access healthcare are often left with significant debt. The New York Health Act would replace traditional health insurance coverage and public health coverage programs with comprehensive single-payer health coverage, including long-term care, for all New Yorkers. The program would be publicly funded, including existing federal support for Medicaid and Medicare. New Yorkers would no longer have to pay premiums, deductibles, copays, out-of-network charges or have limited provider networks.

Watch Archived Video Here and Find Written Testimony Submitted

 

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VIDEO: Community comes together to rally for free and affordable health care, News12 the Bronx

October 23, 2019

Labor leaders, nurses and caregivers came together Wednesday and testified to the Senate and Assembly committees on health care at a public hearing.

Over 40 supporters testified. "No one should have to decide between lifesaving treatment and putting a roof over their head," said nurse Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez.

If passed, the New York Health Actwould provide comprehensive, universal health coverage for every New Yorker.

Elected officials also weighed in on what they are calling a flawed system. They say the problem with the current system is that the decisions of health care are not being made by doctors and their patients. They say they are being made by insurance companies.

The bill could pass as early as January, when legislators are back in session.

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ARTICLE: Single-payer health care would benefit patients and workers, union leaders say, Crains

By Jennifer Henderson, Oct 24, 2019

Local union leaders addressed concerns Wednesday over single-payer health care, saying it would benefit patients as well as health care workers.

They did so at a joint Senate and Assembly hearing on the New York Health Act, which was held at the Bronx Library Center.

Though arguments against the legislation, which would be funded through progressive taxation, have included that industry workers will lose their jobs or go without wage increases, union leaders said there are ways to mitigate such results.

"The members of our union see the consequences of our broken health care system every day," said Dell Smitherman, downstate political director at 1199 SEIU, who testified at the hearing. That includes people arriving at emergency departments at advanced stages of a disease because they don't have access to primary and preventive care, he said, as well as families being forced to make choices about maintaining health care coverage or paying for other necessities.

Though 1199 SEIU has a national benefit fund that provides comprehensive health insurance to its members and their families with no out-of-pocket costs, Smitherman said: "We recognize that what we have been able to win at the bargaining table is more and more rare; across the country, out-of-pocket costs for health care consumers have been rising."

In New York 1.1 million people are uninsured and more are underinsured while many pharmaceutical and medical device companies are seeing double-digit profit margins, and insurers have benefited from a congressional tax overhaul, he said.

"It is true that our benefit fund would no longer provide health insurance under a single-payer plan, like New York Health. That would require major organizational change on our part," Smitherman said. "But our leaders and our members know that winning universal health care for all and ending the suffering for far too many under the current system would be worth that disruption."

Smitherman also testified on the potential effects of single-payer health care on hospital revenues and jobs.

If reimbursement rates under a single-payer system are consistent with current public payer rates, the number of safety-net hospitals in financial distress from not having a significant number of private-payer patients would "spread much more broadly and lead to a reduction in access to care and significant job losses," he said.

Though health care jobs will be affected as the industry focus shifts toward community-based services, job loss can be lessened by teaching workers to be peer or nutrition coordinators, for instance, or community health organizers, he said.

"Our benefit fund and training fund can continue to work with the state and other partners to make sure that we transition workers into that future," he said.

Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, president of the New York State Nurses Association, testified in support of single-payer health care.

"The current system is designed to compromise care rather than provide it," Sheridan-Gonzalez said. It would be ideal to have a national plan, but there needs to be a starting point for single-payer health care, she added.

Under the New York Health Act, "we believe that we would be able to negotiate raises because we don't have to worry about health care," she said. For instance, rather than health care being an additional factor to fight for, more energy could be put toward improving salaries and working conditions, she said.

Aside from union leaders, Dr. Mitchell Katz, president and CEO of New York City Health + Hospitals, provided testimony at Wednesday's hearing, kicking off the event.

As a physician, "a single-payer system would allow me to spend more time on caring for patients and less time on filling out forms and fighting with insurance companies," Katz said.

A single-payer system would broaden health care coverage, he said, and help to reduce the administrative burden felt by safety-net hospitals.

For all the support, however, single-payer health care is met with strong criticism.

An organization called the Realities of Single Payer, which counts the state Health Plan Association among its members, said in a statement issued Wednesday that 150,000 workers would lose their jobs should the legislation be implemented, having a "ripple effect on local economies."

"The members of the Realities coalition are supportive of adopting ways to make coverage more affordable and to get every single New Yorker covered," the coalition said. "Let's fix what is broken instead of blowing up the entire system and replacing it with an even more expensive, experimental, government-run system."

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NEWS: Gottfried to Host Bronx Press Conference on Single Payer Healthcare Bill, NY County Politics

by New York County Politics, October 23, 2019, in Lawmakers on the Move

Assembly Member Richard Gottfried (D-Chelsea, Midtown) will be holding a press conference on his New York Health Act today.

The New York Health Act, which Gottfried is sponsoring, would establish universal single-payer health coverage for all New Yorkers. If passed, New Yorkers would no longer have to pay premiums, co-pays or out-of-network charges.

This hearing is the third in a series of statewide hearings on the Assembly bill.

The event will take place today at 9:30 a.m. at the Bronx Library Center, 310 East Kingsbridge Road.

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NEWS: New York Health Act gets Bronx hearing, Young & Eisenberg, Politico

The Assembly and Senate Standing health committees hold their third joint public hearing in the Bronx today on The New York Health Act.

SPONSORS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT NEW YORK HEALTH ACT’S CHANCES IN 2020 — POLITICO’s Shannon Young: New York Democrats are forging ahead with their proposal to transform the state’s health care systeminto a single-payer model even as the party's presidential candidates debate their own plans for reform. The Assembly and Senate health committees will hold their third and penultimate joint public hearing Wednesday on The New York Health Act, legislation NY A5248 (19R) /NY S3577 (19R) that seeks to establish comprehensive single-payer health coveragefor all New Yorkers. The meeting, set to begin at 10 a.m. at the Bronx Library Center, comes less than two weeks after the committees held a joint public hearing in Rochester, signaling momentum on the issue which had largely stalled since lawmakers considered it in May.

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POV: Health care should be a fundamental human right, Michael Hinman, Riverdale Press

By Michael Hinman, Oct 19, 2019

Two years ago, in these very pages, I shared something deeply personal that before that was only really known by family members and people close to me.

I’m in remission from a medical condition known as trigeminal neuralgia. It’s a condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, a facial nerve that connects the brain with the top, middle and bottom part of our face.

When it flares up and I suffer an “attack,” it’s one of the most intense pains I could imagine anyone ever feeling, and it can last for hours. The best way to describe it is someone stabbing me in the face with a knife, pulling it out, and then doing it again. And again. And again.

It’s a condition so painful and potentially debilitating, it’s one of a handful of conditions that have earned the moniker of “the suicide disease.”

I’m one of the lucky ones, however. My TN is atypical....

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POV: Single-payer health care needed to slow runaway costs, Joseph S. Testa, Buffalo News

By Joseph S. Testa, Oct 13, 2019

Dr. Joseph S. Testa is a physician in the Town of Tonawanda

It was very encouraging to read State Sen. Patrick Gallivan traveled to Canada on a two-day fact-finding trek with the purpose of collecting information on their single-payer health care system. I hope more senators will follow his lead.

However, I disagree with his rejection of single payer.

As a practicing physician, my colleagues and I hear on a daily basis how fed up our patients are with escalating co-pays, premiums, co-insurances, deductibles and drug prices. We all have patients that do not follow through on treatments due to excessive out-of-pocket expenses. Many insurance companies are now unable to afford the high cost of medications and have begun making partial payment to suppliers in order to get them. Another backbreaker to Americans, and probably unknown to State Sen. Gallivan, is this little-known fact: At the time of retirement most will need $230,000 to $250,000 in savings for their health care. Yes, up to $250,000.

Of course, they’ll also need money for food, clothing, utilities, etc. How much do Canadians need set aside in retirement for health care? Nothing....

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POV: Votes might be in Albany, but all politics are local, Riverdale Press

By Jeffrey Dinowitz, Oct 12, 2019

The author is the Assemblyman representing the 81st district, which includes Riverdale, Kingsbridge, Van Cortlandt Village, Kingsbridge Heights, Marble Hill, Norwood, Woodlawn and Wakefield.

As a society, we spend a lot of our time squabbling about the big picture — abstract, often controversial, ideas that might only impact us once or twice in our lives. Meanwhile, the issues that impact us every day — housing, transportation, education, public health and safety — are frequently pushed aside or only discussed as a societal afterthought.

For most of us, however, our daily conversation revolves around what pundits call “kitchen table” issues: Potholes which never seem to get fixed, buses which never seem to have a seat and are always late, or how overcrowded classrooms might be hurting our kids’ education.

Everybody who has met me knows that these kitchen table issues are what get me up in the morning….

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POV: Universal health care is really worth trying, Riverdale Press

By Heather J. Smith, October 12, 2019

Things began to unravel on the day after Christmas 2016.

I came home to my native North Carolina for the holiday, to the house my then-husband and I lived in before I got a job in New York. Midday, mom stood to stretch her legs. She fell backward in her chair, gasping for air.

Life changed for both of us forever at that moment.

In the emergency room, routine triage shifted to panic. Mom’s blood pressure was 230/190. They put her in a bed and started an IV. An army of nurses with a parade of drip bags frowned at the vital sign monitor.

A medication pulled her from the brink of a stroke. She was prepped for a chest X-ray. She resisted. We found out why. No fan of modern medicine, mom dismissed the lumps as mastitis. It was Stage 3 breast cancer.

The next few weeks were a blur. Doctors. Conflicting prognoses. Painful biopsies. Throughout, my mother — weak, worried, pale — assured me things would be OK. A good mother soothing her frightened child.

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SPECIAL PRESS REPORT: Perspective from a future doctor, Riverdale Press

By MICHAEL HINMAN & HEATHER J. SMITH, October 12, 2019

If single-payer health care is passed in New York — or anywhere else in the country, for that matter — expect the sky to fall.

That’s the clarion call of Sally Pipes, the president and chief executive of the California conservative think tank Pacific Research Institute, in an opinion piece published in The Riverdale Presslast July.

Without citing her source, Pipes warned of a country where a shortage of more than 120,000 doctors would exist — 40 percent of them citing burnout as the primary cause of them leaving the medical field, and dissuading their children from becoming doctors. That burn out, Pipes claims, is caused by “bureaucratic tasks” — something that would “smother” doctors if the government took over health care, like what’s proposed with the New York Health Act....

Joseph Tharakan began classes at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Morris Park just as the push for health care reform in New York picked up significant steam with a Democratic takeover of the state senate. Under a single-payer system, his life as a medical doctor will likely be far different than his predecessors — along with the compensation that comes with it.

“I’m not worried at all,” said Tharakan, a product of Riverdale and the Bronx High School of Science. “In fact, I think it’s a great idea. The passage of the New York Health Act would be fantastic.”

And he’s not alone....

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EDITORIAL: Patience for health patients, Riverdale Press

Oct 12, 2019

Health care in the United States is a $3.5 trillion industry, with New York — at a cost of more than $10,725 per person, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services — making up more than $163 billion of those costs.

From pretty much the beginning, health care is something Americans have treated as a commodity. We receive services, and we pay for those services.

As medicine grew more complex, costs became more and more difficult to handle. Late in the 19th century, what would become the modern medical insurance industry was born. However, it wouldn’t be until the 1920s that such offerings became more widely available.

Unless you’ve lived outside the country for any extended period of time, the only health care we have known is one that exists through our health insurance. We pay out premiums on a regular basis, and when it comes time to cash in to receive those services, many times we have to pay even more out of pocket, typically up to some pretty sizeable caps....

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SPECIAL PRESS REPORT: Transforming into a single-payer health care state, Riverdale Press

By HEATHER J. SMITH, Oct 12, 2019

Universal health care isn’t a new concept. The first modern iteration of such a system was first implemented in 1883 by Prussian leader Otto von Bismarck in the country that later became Germany.

The United Kingdom passed its own legislation in 1911 to cover primary care of the working class — about a third of the country’s population. Several European countries followed suit in the 1930s, with many of them — including the United Kingdom — adopting a universal coverage model over the next 20 years.

While each country with universal health care employ different administrative models, tax revenue is the common funding denominator. The U.K. government directly runs its health care system, while others in places like Germany, France and Japan use a two-payer system mixing both private and public funds. In some countries like Belgium and the Netherlands, a mixture of private insurance and government-funded health care exists, but insurance companies are prohibited from denying coverage for anyone based on age or pre-existing conditions....

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SPECIAL PRESS REPORT: Slow road to reforming health care, Riverdale Press

By KIRSTYN BRENDLEN, MICHAEL HINMAN & HEATHER J. SMITH
Oct 13, 2019

Dr. Phil Schneider likes to keep it simple.

Walking into the speech pathologist’s Whitehall clinic, patients generally don’t find much more than a small sparsely decorated waiting area, leading to an office dominated by Schneider’s desk, with a big window facing Independence Avenue.

Despite running a number of similar offices throughout the city — and even a pair in Israel — Schneider runs his practice without the standard office staff one might expect. Because of that, Schneider tends to deal with all his own paperwork, most of which deals directly with health insurance companies.

Receiving standard health care can be challenging enough through such insurance. When it comes to specialists like Schneider, it’s an everyday uphill battle that eats more and more of his time....

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ARTICLE: Single-payer health care in NY? Lawmakers hear both sides, Jack Watson, RochesterFirst

By Jack Watson, Oct 10, 2019

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Legislators from the New York State Senate and Assembly gathered Thursday at University of Rochester to hear testimony for the New York Health Act, a bill that aims to bring single-payer health care to the state.

The bill would create a health care system operated by New York State, at a cost one study from the RAND Corporation estimates at $130 billion, which factors in the new combined payroll and non-payroll tax introduced by the bill.

State Assemblyman Harry Bronson from the 138th district, as well as State Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, both from New York City, spoke in support of the bill.

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ARTICLE: Rally held for New York Health Act at Rochester Art Museum, WHECTV

By WHECTV, Oct 10, 2019

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — People came out to show support for universal healthcare in New York.

Advocates representing state providers, nurses, patients, businesses, and caregivers rallied on Thursday in front of the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester.

The rally came after the public hearing on the New York Health Act. The act would provide complete health coverage without deductibles, co-pays, restricted provider networks, or out-of-network charges....

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LETTER: No, you can't take it with you, Barbara Estrin, Riverdale Press

By Barbara Estrin, Oct 6, 2019

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” Joe Biden declared on the day that General Motors (already holding out for higher medical co-pays and deductibles in the new contract) cut strikers’ health insurance, forcing the union to pay for COBRA. On Sept. 26, GM restored worker health benefits, but the issue of employer-based insurance remains.

Although the strike might be settled by the time this letter is printed, the truth is GM workers are not alone: 28 percent of people on an employer plan will not be on that same plan one year later.

You like your employer health plan? You better cross your fingers, because 1-in-4 people on employer plans will come off their plan in the next 12 months.

The GM workers’ strike changes the stance of unions. Workers are not only striking for consistent health benefits, they are also striking against the “gig economy,” which puts some GM workers outside the benefit package altogether. By 2020, the number of self-employed or part-time employees is expected to reach 42 million. And the autoworkers union is fighting to make more workers full-time....

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NEWS: State Legislature Hears Testimony on Single-Payer Health Care System for All NY’ers, WXHC

Oct 10, 2019

Members of the New York State Legislature held a schedule hearing today (October 10) where they took testimony on the potential enactment of the New York Health Act.

The proposed legislation would replace traditional health insurance and public health coverage programs with a comprehensive single-payer system for all New Yorkers.

Such a program would be publicly funded and include existing federal support for Medicaid and Medicare.

Residents would no longer have to pay premiums, deductibles, copays, out-of-network charges or have limited provider networks....

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VIDEO: Rochester Hearing weighs pros and cons of single-payer health care, WROC, Rochester First

By WROC Staff, Oct 10, 2019

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The New York State Senate and Assembly Health Committees were in Rochester Thursday for a public hearing on the New York Health Act.

The New York Health Act, known legally as Senate Bill S3577, would establish universal, single-payer coverage for all New Yorkers. The program would be publicly funded, including existing federal support for Medicaid and Medicare.

THIS MORNING: Supporters of universal healthcare speak ahead of hearing on New York Health Act at University of Rochester. We’re hearing from both sides tonight on @News_8pic.twitter.com/mmglrk0Gtc  — Jack Watson (@JackWatsonTV) October 10, 2019

Supporters say the passage of this bill wold mean New Yorkers would no longer have to pay premiums, deductibles, co-pays, out-of-network charges, or have limited provider options....The Rochester hearing is the second in as series of statewide hearings on the bill, with other hearings scheduled to take place in New York City and the Hudson Valley. Video and a transcript from the first meeting is available online.

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POV: Proposed legislation would help New York's farm families, Henderson, Democrat & Chronicle

By Elizabeth Henderson, Oct 9, 2019

Elizabeth Henderson farmed for over 30 years in Newark, Wayne County, and is a member of the Board of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York.

Despite New York farms being an essential part of the economy, many family-scale farmers (or their spouse) have to take an off-farm job that includes health insurance among its benefits. For the first 20 years of farming, I did not have any health insurance. I finally was able to afford a policy with big deductions when our farm’s customers, the members of our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), voted to raise the amount they paid us for shares of produce each week so that we could afford health insurance. Knowing that we worked long hours in all kinds of weather using equipment that can be dangerous, they wanted us to have coverage.

It is a financial stretch for farmers to provide the most basic coverage for our employees, not to mention comprehensive coverage that includes vision, dental, hearing, mental health and long-term care and support services. Employer health coverage spending as a share of payroll is up more than 50 percent in a decade, and many farmers pay even higher percentages than larger companies.

The New York Health Act will guarantee comprehensive coverage to every resident and make care accessible by removing means-testing and financial barriers to healthcare. Eliminating the financial burden for employers to buy health coverage will make New York farm jobs more attractive. And the New York Health Act guarantees coverage regardless of immigration status. (By official estimates, over half the workers on NY farms are undocumented. ) The New York Health Act will alleviate the burden that many immigrants face in navigating the complexity of health insurance plans, many of which exclude their participation completely....

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LETTER: NY Health Act will cut the bureaucracy, Jean-Francois Briere, Times Union

By Jean-Francois Briere, Delmar, Oct 1, 2019

I was struck by the incoherence of "Proposed New York Health Act would be too costly" (Sept. 21). Three examples:

The author tells us that single payer insurance in New York state would be too expensive. Then, he goes on explaining that single payer insurance (at the federal level with Medicare and Medicaid) pays health care providers too little. You can't have it both ways: either it costs too much or it costs too little.

He tells us that the city of Pittsburgh has more MRI machines than the totality of Canada without realizing that this is the very reason why MRI exams are far more expensive in the U.S.: too many machines for too few patients.

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ARTICLE: Alpacas, not super PACs': Comegys injects fun, Robert Harding, AuburnPub

By Roberty Harding, Sept 23, 2019

Scott Comegys has positions on the most important issues facing all levels of governments. But as he campaigns for the 130th Assembly District seat, he wants to have some fun....

During his first campaign, it wasn't a secret that he is an alpaca farmer. He's a full-time town of Palmyra employee and spends his off time tending to 12 alpacas, chickens and a small vegetable farm. ...

The other issues that are part of Comegys' platform haven't changed from the 2018 race. He supports the New York Health Act, a bill introduced by Democratic legislators to establish a statewide single-payer health care system. The goal of the bill is to provide universal coverage, but he also noted that it would change how health insurance is funded in New York. 

"One of the main things that we pay for from our property taxes — what we're always being told — is 80% of that goes straight into Medicaid," Comegys said. "We have an option instead to take that Medicaid cost out of our property taxes, put it into a payroll tax that is more equitable as far as people paying for it and go into the New York Health Act. I think that would make people a lot happier and give them certainly more security in their health care."

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ARTICLE: Senator Amedore Faces Second Challenger, Chris Rowley, Shawangunk Journal

By Chris Rowley, Sept 6, 2019

NEW YORK – Jeff Collins, best known as a founder of the Hudson Valley Sudbury School in Woodstock, has thrown his hat into the ring for the 46th District’s State Senate seat currently held by George Amedore. The election will be held in 2020, and Collins will face Michelle Hinchey for the Democratic party nomination. Collins currently sits on the Woodstock Zoning Board of Appeals.

The 46th District runs from Marbletown and High Falls, up to the outskirts of Albany, and then executes a westward hook up the Mohawk Valley to the outskirts of Herkimer. Kingston is the biggest population center....

Collins has made healthcare issues the centerpiece of his campaign. He says he will press for a “single-payer” system in New York State. Collins said, “We’re a large enough state that we can enact a single-payer system, and have that system be a test bed for the rest of the nation, and show what happens when we really believe that health insurance should value people over profits, and that health care really is a human right.” He has also added his support to the proposed New York Health Act, which would set up a single-payer option in the state....

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LETTER: Home Health Aides: Low Wages, Long Hours, Phyllis Arnold, NYTimes

By Phyllis Arnold, Sept. 6, 2019 

On Duty Around the Clock, 27 Days a Month” (front page, Sept. 2) describes the horror of giving and getting care in this country. Working conditions for the caregivers — among the poorest and most marginalized people in the work force — are beyond nightmarish. And the scramble around making impossible decisions about what to give up and where to get the money to pay for care awaits almost all of us.

The caregiver and client in the story are two of the millions trapped in a fragmented, burdensome and failing care delivery system.

We cannot effectively address the issues piecemeal. We must instead look toward integrated, publicly supported, universal long-term care — including a serious examination of proposals like Universal Family Careand the New York Health Act. It is time to give the caring economy its due.

Phyllis Arnold
Brooklyn

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LETTER: Join Us to Learn about the New York Health Act, Maddie Hunter, River Journal

By Maddie Hunter, on behalf of the Health Committee, CCoHOPE Indivisible, Sept 5, 2019

Last month one of the most trusted pharmaceutical companies in our country, Johnson and Johnson, was found by a court in Oklahoma to be liable for its contribution to the opioid crisis. The court ordered the corporation to pay the State of Oklahoma nearly half a billion dollars. Other pharmaceutical companies are in the headlines for playing games with patent protections or unjustifiably raising prices on life saving drugs.

I have a personal interest in the issue of drug costs. I am a cancer patient and a retiree. I rely on Medicare, supplemental insurance and a Part D drug plan to obtain a life-saving medication for an incurable blood cancer called Multiple Myeloma. I am lucky to have these supports, but my copays end up being over $800 a month. Each year that I have used this medication, the copay has gone up at least twice. This run-away cost profile isn’t sustainable for me or for many other Myeloma patients I have met.

Fortunately, the State of New York is considering a fundamental solution to the problem of drug prices and the cost of care generally. The New York Health Actis a comprehensive single-payer plan that will provide better health care, better overall coverage, and lower costs....

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LETTER: Pipes gets it all wrong when it comes to doctor shortages, Helen Krim, Riverdale Press

By Helen Meltzer-Krim, Sept 1, 2019

Sally Pipes, a marketer paid by a Koch-funded California think tank, misrepresents facts in her recent Point of View. She maintains that there will be an exodus from the profession, and a severe shortage of doctors as a result of single-payer health care.

This is nonsense.

Pipes cites burnout as a factor in driving doctors from the profession, and then makes the unfounded assumption that the paperwork would be worse under Medicare for All.

Doctors disagree. In New York state, there are 55 insurance companies, each with its own set of plans and formularies. Surveys by the New York State Nurses Association indicate that 50 percent of doctors identify insurance company plans as the cause of burnout, since they spend hours fighting with insurance companies to provide their patients with appropriate medication and service....

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ARTICLE: Senate Health Chair leads fact finding trip to Toronto, David Lombardo, TimesUnion

By David Lombardo, Aug 28, 2019

Senate Health Committee Chair Gustavo Rivera is leading a delegation to Toronto to study the Canadian single-payer healthcare system.

The two-day trip, which will include a tour of sites where supervised drug use is allowed, is designed to gain information about major health care issues that could potentially be addressed in next year’s legislative session.

Legislation enacting the New York Health Act, which creates a single-payer system in New York, and the Overdose Prevention Centers Act, which establishes supervised sites for drug use, both stalled in the Capitol this year.

“The New York Health Act and the Overdose Prevention Centers Act are key policies being widely debated in New York as we face skyrocketing health care costs that are impeding access to quality care and an unprecedented rate of overdose deaths,” Rivera, a Bronx Democrat, said in a statement....

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LETTER: Support state’s universal health care proposal, Kathleen Stein, NNY360

NNY360 Powered by Watertown Daily Times and Northern New York Newspapers

By Kathleen Stein, Aug 16, 2019

The writer is president of the League of Women Voters of St. Lawrence County.

Medicare and Medicaid turned 54 on July 30. Yet half a century after these popular “entitlements” were created, the United States remains the only developed country without universal health care. The rest of the world admires many things about America, but our for-profit system of health insurance is not among them.

A comprehensive national plan may not be in the immediate cards. New Yorkers, however, need not wait for Congress to pass (and a president to sign) a Medicare for All bill — which may take awhile. The New York Health Act, pending in the state Legislature, would make an expanded version of Medicare available to all residents of the state. Moreover, it includes dental, vision and mental health coverage as well as long-term care — none of which are provided by Medicare. Earlier versions of the NYHA have passed the state Assembly in each of the last three sessions only to stall in the Senate. The bill coincides, in broad outline, with the national bills introduced by Bernie Sanders in the Senate and Pramila Jayapal in the House....

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ARTICLE: New Paltz Town/Village Boards endorse single-payer health care for New Yorkers, hv1

By Frances Marion Platt, Aug 12, 2019 — Hudson Valley One

At a joint meeting on August 1, the New Paltz Town and Village Boards unanimously approved a resolution urging passage of the New York Health Act (NYHA), A.4738/S.4840. First introduced in 1992 by Manhattan assemblyman Richard Gottfried, the bill establishing a single-payer health care system in New York State has passed in the Assembly for the past four terms, but invariably stalled in the State Senate, where its primary sponsor is senator Gustavo Rivera of the Bronx.

Under NYHA, doctors and hospitals would be paid for their work by a single tax-supported fund, similar to Medicare, rather than through hundreds of insurance companies as under the current multi-payer system. Instead of the multitude of plans currently available, each with different networks of providers and different services covered, every resident, regardless of age, employment status or preexisting conditions, is automatically enrolled in the same comprehensive plan. NYHA fully covers all medically necessary services: comprehensive outpatient and inpatient medical care, primary and preventive care, prescription drugs, laboratory tests, mental health, reproductive health, rehabilitation, dental, vision, hearing, medical supply costs and even long-term care....

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ARTICLE: New Paltz Town/Village Boards endorse single-payer health care for New Yorkers, hv1

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VIDEO: Senator Gustavo Rivera interviewed on BronxTalk, Gary Axelbank

By Gary Axelbank, July 22, 2019

Sen. Rivera who just completed his first session as chair of the Health Committee, talked at length about the issues confronting a potential conversion to a single-payer plan in the NY Health Act. He also, explained why he chose not to run for congress, was blunt about his thoughts on the Trump administration, and commented on a few of the State’s legislative achievements in the last session.

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