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LETTER: NY Health Is About Saving Lives, Francine Furtado, Newsday

By Francine Furtado, Port Washington, August 28, 2018

I was appalled by the Aug. 12 editorial, “The painful questions of single-payer care.”

Does the editorial board really believe our wealthiest neighbors would flee New York over tax schedules not suggested by anything in the language of the New York Health Act? What does it say that the board expresses more dismay about the anticipated reaction of the ultrawealthy than about the damage our broken health care inflicts on so many?

No New Yorker benefits when epidemics rage — not family members of those caught in opioid addiction, and not business owners whose partners, managers and employees stress over impaired friends and family or fight addiction themselves.

Nor do New Yorkers benefit from emergency rooms crowded with patients who cannot pay for primary care, or who wait so long that treatable conditions become life-threatening and expensive. Medical personnel burn out when patients can’t afford out-of-pocket expenses and insurers deny the care they prescribe.

Health care costs are opaque, uncontrollable and on track to consume our entire gross domestic product. Worse, our public health is deteriorating before our eyes.

Newsday rants about the “perils” of single-payer, but misses what matters most: The New York Health Act is about saving lives — our lives.

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LETTER: In a Strong Democracy, Other's Lives Matter, Judith Esterquest, Newsday

By Judith B. Esterquest, Manhasset, August 28, 2018

Your editorial displays a cynical view of New York’s rich. Citing the RAND Corp. report’s conclusions, the editorial says that if the New York Health Act becomes law, the wealthiest individuals and businesses would decamp the state. Really?

At a party a few months ago, one of Long Island’s uberwealthy asked me about the New York Health Act. I said its progressive taxes might cost considerably more than this person pays in premiums.

The person said, “I have the best health insurance money can buy.” But then this person explained that an insurer wrote at letter that this the person had reached a lifetime cap and would have to pay out of pocket for a life-sustaining medication. “I now have to pay $100,000 a year for it,” the person said, adding, “Only my wealth keeps me healthy. This is wrong.”

Like many of Long Island’s wealthiest, this person seeks to use wealth to make our world better — giving to schools, hospitals, the arts — and now advocating for NY Health. In a strong democracy, others’ lives matter.

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LETTER: The Vast Majority Would Save Money, Ron Widelec, Newsday

Ron Widelec, Commack, August 28, 2018

Your editorial got it very wrong in its dismissal of the New York Health Act and in advocating gradual change instead. The editorial referred to the plan as “free health care,” which is misleading. It would not be free; it would be funded collectively by taxes in the same way as education, policing and a score of other public services.

The editorial said the vast majority of people would save money under this system, but focused more on the costs than the savings. In a 2015 opinion piece in the Times-Union newspaper, Albany Treasurer Darius Shahinfar estimated that the New York Health Act could help taxpayers in his city see property taxes fall by 28 percent. He reasoned that a huge portion of those taxes goes to fund health insurance for school and municipal workers.

Most glaringly, the editorial did not mention that in 2014 and 2017, the Commonwealth Fund, a health care advocacy foundation, ranked the United States worst in an evaluation of health care systems in 11 developed nations — pathetic for the richest country in history. The United States is the only high-income nation to lack universal health care. This real-world evidence is far more powerful than the RAND Corp. study cited in your editorial.

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LETTER: An Urgent Call for Immediate Relief, Rene Bouchard, Newsday

By Rene Bouchard, Huntington Station, August 28, 2018

Sixteen percent of my paycheck goes to state and federal taxes, Medicare and Social Security, while 18 percent pays for my health insurance, which entitles me and my family to access in-network providers only, with very high co-pays. The total monthly premium paid by my employer and me is more than my mortgage!

The study cited in your editorial projects an 18 percent increase in taxes in my income bracket, split between my employer and me. This is a better scenario than what is happening now. It would save money for everyone, eliminate co-pays and serve all New Yorkers.

“Single-payer now” isn’t just a wonderfully simple slogan, it’s an urgent call for immediate relief that would result in better access to care, more take-home pay for me to spend to stimulate the economy, and a reduction in benefits expenses for local businesses, empowering them to hire more full -time staff.

I’m not interested in a slow approach that will protect health insurance companies. I am interested in health care policy that makes sense right now.

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LETTER: Life and Death Matters, Tom Bulger, Canandaigua Messenger

By Tom Bulgar, August 15, 2018

A doctor on CBS News was complaining about the mortality rate of pregnant women. It is the highest in the industrialized world. The Wood Library New Yorkers again discussed the lack of first-world health care in America and the criminal cost that we pay to end up ranked 37th by the World Health Organization. Mothers dying in childbirth is an obscenity. Ignoring the worst infant mortality rate among developed nations is societal infanticide. We are 28th, right behind Slovakia (“Our infant mortality rate is a national embarrassment,” Washington Post, Sept. 29, 2014).

What do you think about lobbyists and politicians prioritizing the enrichment of insurance companies and prioritizing campaign contributions over babies’ lives? “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” (Martin Luther King Jr.)

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LETTER: It's time to save health care, Sandra Prosnitz, Riverdale Press

By Sandra Prosnitz, August 25, 2018

Maurice Chevalier famously sang, “I’m so glad I’m not young anymore.” He was referring to one kind of heart trouble: amours.

But if you are 62 and have another kind of heart problem from birth — say, a “heart murmur” (as a mitral valve prolapse is often called) — young is not better in America. Being older than 65 brings Medicare coverage.

In fact, you might be consumed with worry at 26 (the reverse of 62) if you have a murmur — facing a lifelong pre-existing condition and about to lose coverage under your parents’ health care policy. That off-switch might change your career choice.

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EDITORIAL: Hospitals, insurer clash leaving patients worried, Middletown Record

posted August 23, 2018

When the Montefiore Health System took over St. Luke’s Cornwall hospital, it brought benefits, as those on both sides were happy to feature, and some complications.

One of those is on display now in the contract impasse between Montifiore and Aetna insurance which could have a detrimental effect on local patients. Unless the two sides settle by the time the contract expires on Sept. 8, local patients covered by Aetna, including that company’s Medicare health plans, could be facing much higher bills as local doctors and hospitals become officially out-of-network providers.

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SERIES: Healthcare in America, Carmen Lyra, This Is the Bronx

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

by Carmen Lyra,  August 26, 2018

I love teaching. I began my career in bi-lingual education, then taught HS Spanish, and then Special Education. Colleagues, administrators, students, their families often tell me I’m good at what I do. My healthcare story began two and a half years ago.

Part I: My life explodes into a healthcare nightmare

I was six months pregnant, with three wonderful kids, and teaching at a private school focused on special needs students when I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and severe ante-natal depression. I was prescribed total bed rest. 

Here I was, in a high-risk pregnancy that can lead to HELLP syndrome, a life-threatening complication that had recently almost killed a good friend of mine. I already knew American women can and do die from this; it’s part of why the US is the only country with rising maternal mortality. I knew I needed pre-natal medical visits and medical care to save my baby — and to save my own life. The idea of leaving my three older children motherless terrified me.

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ARTICLE: Can NY Make The Leap To Universal, Government-Run Healthcare? Caroline Lewis, Gothamist

Perhaps more than any other single piece of legislation, the stakes here are high. For better or worse, the New York Health Act would have a huge impact on the economy and would disrupt the state’s current health system, which, despite its flaws, insures about 95 percent of New Yorkers. About a third of New Yorkers are currently enrolled in free or low-cost coverage through the state’s $70 billion taxpayer-funded Medicaid program or Child Health Plus, while another 700,000 or so are enrolled in the Essential Plan, an insurance option created under the Affordable Care Act for low-income residents who don’t qualify for Medicaid.

“We would want to work as hard as possible to make this a high-quality public program so it has a positive impact on the national debate,” said Katie Robbins, director of the Campaign for New York Health. “The risk of not [passing the bill] is high as well. People are rationing care because they can’t afford it. People are being tied to jobs and marriages they don’t want and health outcomes are shameful."

Read the full article at the Gothamist here.

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LETTER: It is time for change in the 51st Senate District, Carla Nordstrom, Oneonta Daily Star

As someone who lives in the 51st Senate District, I’d like to respond to Jermaine Bagnall-Graham’s letter about Sen. Jim Seward. I’ve been to Albany three times in the last year and a half to lobby for the New York Health Act and for voting reform. Seward was unavailable for these meetings, so his staff conducted them. For both the New York Health Act and voting reform they told me that these programs were too expensive and would make taxes go up.

Mr. Bagnall-Graham may be right when he says, “Sen. Seward has kept money in our district and helped good causes.” The problem is that Sen. Seward is not committed to doing things for the people of his district. He is not open to providing for the health needs of his constituents because of the expense. New York has one of the most outdated election systems in the country and yet he does not want to fix it because of the expense. Sen. Seward is not the only senator who gives money to public schools or libraries, but he does show a lack of concern for the lives and voices of the people who live in his district.

One difference between his policies and those of Joyce St. George is she supports the New York Health Act which will bring health care to every New Yorker and, in contrast to Sen. Seward’s position, will bring jobs to New York State.

Read the full letter at the Oneonta Daily Star here.

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

By Richard Clements

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

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

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

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

by David Knapp   — August 12, 2018

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

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

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

Barbara Estrin — August 12, 2018

Unbelievable!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continúa leyendo … 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

But NYHA would increase choice for all New Yorkers.

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

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

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

BY KIMBERLEIGH SMITH AND WINN PERIYASAMY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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LETTER: NYHA would expand demand for treatment, and that's a good thing, Paul Cooper, Daily Freeman

On Aug. 1, we learned from the highly regarded Rand Corporation that the New York Health Act would extend to all New York residents complete access to health care with such significant savings that New York can afford it.

But just a couple of days prior, the Mercatus Center, funded by the conservative Koch brothers, found the reverse for the entire country, despite what it said would be trillions of dollars saved. Why? Because it “would dramatically expand the demand for health care services.”

Well, yes, more people would get health care — that’s the general idea. They would take all their prescribed medications, instead of cutting back on them. They would see their doctors whenever a symptom became worrisome, instead of waiting until it was too late. As a result, thousands would live, and not die. And, in the process, the nation as a whole would save money, and health care would cease being the economic albatross around all our necks that it now is. Innovation would flourish, because people would no longer be afraid to leave their current jobs for fear of losing their health care coverage; they would feel free to go to new jobs that might better foster their new ideas.

Of course, the super rich might have to wait a trifle before they purchased their new yachts. My condolences to them.

Read the letter at the Daily Freeman here.

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LETTER: Health Care for All, Richard Warren, The Chief-Leader

Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed codifying Obamacare into New York State law. This is to stop health premiums from rising 24 percent as a result of President Donald Trump’s tax bill eliminating the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.

Cuomo’s proposal is benevolent. But enacting the New York Health Act would be better. It has passed the Assembly four years in a row.

It has 31 sponsors in the Senate, including Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Jeff Klein.

This bill would bring what has been stalled nationwide, the type of complete health coverage for all that every advanced nation but us has, to New York State.

Candidate Trump claimed he would replace Obamacare with something much better. So far he has proposed nothing. His sympathy lies with only profit-minded business people. It is unlikely Trump is going to cut insurance companies out of the medical field and replace Obamacare with a government-funded or expanded (Medicare-for-all) program that covers everybody. For the time being, the New York Health Act is our best hope.

On the state level, we’ve been unsuccessful in getting the Assembly to approve expanding 9/11-related health coverage to include civilian employees. On the Federal level, it was like pulling teeth to get the odious Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, to bring extension of the Zadroga Act to a vote and approval.

But this would not even be an issue in Europe, Canada and the much-maligned-by-our-government Cuba. Because in those countries, if you have a life-threatening illness, it gets treated. You don’t have to worry about cost or prove you were the victim of a terrorist attack.

Read the original letter at the Chief-Leader here.

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LETTER: Medical debt forgiveness relief available, Carolyn Kenyon and Judy Jones, Finger Lakes Times

Are you or someone you know having difficulty paying your medical bills? Well, you are not alone. Forty-three million (one in five) Americans have delinquent medical debt on their credit reports.

Medical debt contributes to greater than 60% of bankruptcies in America. Did you know that Americans live in the only industrial nation on earth that does not provide health care for its citizens? Even when we have health insurance, a single accident or unexpected illness can threaten our financial security.

With this in mind, Finger Lakes for the New York Health Act (FL4NYHealth), a Chapter of the New York Health Campaign, has made a commitment to raise $12,500 by Aug. 19 which will forgive $1 million of medical debt belonging to residents of the Finger Lakes Region and Western New York. This is made possible because RIP buys debt bundled for pennies on the dollar.

Read the full article at the Finger Lakes Times here

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

Aug 5, 2018

 

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

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

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

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

By Rachel Silberstein on August 1, 2018

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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LETTER: Molinaro wrong on NY Health Act, Dr. Sunny Aslam, Auburn Citizen

"Molinaro pledges to veto universal health care bill if elected NY governor" (The Citizen, 7/26/2018) shows we need a candidate for governor who has a plan to provide health for all who live in New York state. The article does not mention that traditional Medicare's model of extremely low admin costs would save taxpayers an estimated $45 billion in the first year alone. The threat of tax increases for business and the addition of $90 billion (!) to the state budget are hung over the reader. The final boogeyman is when Molinaro mentions a state takeover of health care.

Sadly, Molinaro offers no solutions of his own for the crippling and increasing costs of health care in New York.

If the New York Health Act were to pass, we would find few of the above scare tactics are true. Instead we would find free choice of physicians (free market choice not government takeover) in New York state; tremendous administrative cost savings; businesses no longer spending $2 billion per year finding health plans and overall health care payroll costs lowered. Life saving pharmaceutical prices would be negotiated in similar fashion as done by the Veterans Affairs (VA) who pays 40 percent less than the general public. You can read the study yourself at www.infoshare.org/main/Economic_Analysis_New_York_Health_Act_-_GFriedman_-_April_2015.pdf.

Most New Yorkers (estimated 98 percent) and businesses would pay less and often far less than the $25,000 average costs of a family health insurance plan.

I work as an addiction psychiatrist. When my patients don't come to treatment or get medications because of loss of coverage, burdensome paperwork requirements by insurance companies or outrageous drug costs, they can stop breathing. It makes you furious when politicians like Molinaro refuse humane approaches like the New York Health Act. I've found the governor's lack of support of universal healthcare upsetting; maybe he'll stand up now and champion the New York Health Act.

I'm thrilled to be supporting a slate of candidates who actually support this improved, expanded Medicare for all approach: Cynthia Nixon for governor, Dana Balter for congress, Rachel May and John Mannion for state Senate.

I hope this fall you will support candidates who are serious about universal healthcare and lowering health costs for consumers and businesses.

Read the original letter here.

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

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

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

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

Read the full letter at the Auburn Citizen here!

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Cuomo, foes debate NY health bill, Oneonta Daily Star

Nixon, a longtime activist and actress, came out strongly in favor of single-payer health care legislation.

“Health care should be a human right, not a privilege for those who can afford it,” Nixon said in a campaign video. She added that the New York Health Act that has been approved in the Assembly would cover all New Yorkers.

With lawmakers set to be on recess through the rest of the year, it is unlikely that Cuomo will have to deal with the single payer legislation in 2018. In comments last September that gave himself wiggle room on the issue, Cuomo said it would be preferable to have the health care debate settled at the national level.

“If they were to pass it and it was not incongruous with what the federal government would do to us, I think it's a very exciting possibility," he said in a radio interview then.

Read the full article at the Daily Star here.

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LETTER: Big push for NY Health Act, Helen Krim, Riverdale Press

Plans are afoot in Washington to further weaken the Affordable Care Act or eliminate it entirely. The recent appointment of a new Supreme Court justice and recent moves by the Department of Justice could bring these plans to fruition, thus throwing millions of Americans off their health insurance plans.

In New York, passing the New York Health Act is the obvious and proactive response to this potential crisis. Years of rigorous review and solid econometric studies have shows that New York State’s 23 million people would save an estimated $70 billion in the first year of operation with the simple elimination of private insurance. Even after the deduction of transition expenses, such as training displaced workers and providing them extended unemployment benefits, the New York Health Act would save $45 million for patient care.

With its huge base, the state can negotiate volume discounts for pharmaceutical products and medical devices. Fraud detection, simplified with the elimination of multiple payers, would result in further savings. Administrative costs would be similar to those of Medicare at 2 percent of premiums collected, as opposed to up to 17 percent for commercial health insurers.

The argument that providing health care to all residents of New York State is too expensive is absurd. It would cost less than we pay now, and provide insurance for the 2 million New Yorkers who currently have no health insurance, or who still can’t see a doctor due to costs.

Read the full letter here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full article at the New Franklin Register here.

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