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LETTER: Put doctors back in charge, support NY Health Act, Catherine Wolf, Westchester Journal

I am typing this by raising my right eyebrow which triggers a switch. I have had ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, for 21 long years. It is an expensive disease, especially in my current condition: Quadriplegic and ventilator dependent.
Recently, I have been denied two medications by my prescription benefit management provider. The first is Rozerem that I have used for chronic insomnia for more than a decade. The insurance provider demanded my doctor reassess my use of this drug and get a “prior authorization.” He called to provide his expert medical judgment, but the representative still denied authorization. So he took time away from seeing other patients to write a strongly worded, three-page appeal letter.

Read the full letter at the Westchester Journal

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LETTER: No Copays, No Deductibles, Lower Property Taxes Sound Good?, Judy Jones, Ithaca Times

State Senator O'Mara said “The New York Health Act" (NYHA aka single payer) "would swamp the state budget – we can't afford the taxes necessary to pay the annual 91Billion dollar price tag”. State Senator Seward said his “primary concern is the cost” and the “additional taxes displacing critical services.”

Had they carefully read the bill and its economic analysis they would find that property taxes could drop significantly due to the elimination of the Medicaid mandate on counties and their health insurance expense. The cost for county and school district health insurance, paid for by our property taxes, could lower our property taxes substantially. In Tompkins County the savings from Medicaid mandate and county employee benefits alone is estimated at $22 Million.

Read the full letter at the Ithaca Times here.

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LETTER: National health care insurance within reach, Austin Irish, Watertown Daily Times

In the 1970s, the people of Israel started noticing a problem.

Health care costs were rising dramatically. Pharmaceutical prices and even private insurance plans significantly outpaced inflation. Costs were getting out of control and it wasn’t just the public that had the problem either.

Many companies found it hard to compete internationally. A significant portion of their time and revenue had to be spent on health care instead of developing better products, improving efficiency or expanding their business. Small businesses and the self-employed suffered, too.

Small businesses couldn’t afford to pay for health care unlike their larger counterparts. Savvy entrepreneurs who wanted to change jobs or start their own business were often forced to choose between their independence and their health.

Read the full letter at the Watertown Daily Times here.

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LETTER: Green party not getting coverage, Jim Brown, Newsday

Lems has appeared along with the other two candidates in several recent debates and forums, and she has offered views and policies not often expressed by candidates of the two major parties.

She has spoken of how the New York Health Act, if enacted, would save the county almost half a billion dollars in health care costs, and she has made a strong case for enacting a progressive county income tax.

Read the full letter at Newsday here.

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LETTER: Health care for all, Barbara Nimri Aziz, Walton Reporter

A President who promised better coverage at less cost for all Americans' health still expects us to support a plan that does the opposite. Any Republican representative who recognizes the consequences to Mr. Trump's proposed cuts to the ACA cannot in good conscience in the interest of their constituents allow this to proceed. It will mean more hardships to every struggling family. 

Today Americans' level of anxiety over insurance costs has never been higher. We have a viable option put forward by Democratic senators- universal healthcare- led by Senator Sanders.

Read the full letter at the Walton Reporter.

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LETTER: New York Health Act can protect state seniors, Elyse Segelken, Oneonta Daily Star

Another attack on health care! President Trump recently announced he would stop paying the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies that help people afford insurance. He also said he would allow new junk insurance plans to be sold. Those plans may seem cheap, but they turn out to be worthless the moment a person insured under such a plan has any medical issue whatsoever. Gutting the Affordable Care Act will be disastrous for ordinary people, many of whom will lose their insurance and health care or see costs skyrocket.

Fortunately, here in New York we have the means in place to enable everyone to get health care. That is the New York Health Act (NYHealth). It has passed our state Assembly by a wide margin and is one vote away from a majority in the state Senate. NYHealth will make health care a fundamental right for all New Yorkers.

Read the full letter at the Oneonta Daily Star here.

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LETTER: Klein is not helping Democrats, Jacqueline Gold, Annemarie Golden, Sarah Hughes, Judith Minkoff-Grey, Ruth Mullen, Dale Wolff, Sue Dodell, Riverdale Press

We fear that for Sen. Klein, it is all about power (his own, as the leader of the Independent Democratic Conference, which gives the Republicans a majority in the state senate and the ability to hold up progressive legislation such as single-payer health care, immigrant protections and climate change legislation from ever reaching the senate floor for a vote).

Read the full letter at the Riverdale Press here.

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LETTER: Don't be gun-shy on health care, Norman Danzig, Riverdale Press

In co-sponsoring the New York Health Act and supporting it, Sen. Jeffrey Klein is doing all New Yorkers a great service. His Point of View piece in The Riverdale Press highlights some of the problems the bill faces.

But the senator needs to make three things clear, both to his constituents and to his fellow senators. 

• Under the terms of the act, Medicare will remain as it is for all senior citizens.

• The progressive taxes (based on income) imposed by the act replace the premiums and co-pays all New Yorkers currently give (privately or through employer-based health care, which also will remain in place) to insurance companies. The act will amount to a net savings to all but the richest 2 percent of the state.

Read the rest of the letter at the Riverdale Press here.

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LETTER: Here's one senator's finest hour, Jerrold Goodman, Riverdale Press

Your editorial made me glad to be a regular Riverdale Press reader. Health care is our most vexing issue right now, and we desperately need the conversation and leadership The Riverdale Press is demonstrating.

Regardless of party, New Yorkers know our current health care system is killing us — and Republicans are trying to ensure that it could kill more of us.

There is a better way: the New York Health Act. It will save our lives. It will improve Medicare by expanding coverage (including dentures, hearing aids, glasses — none of which Medicare covers), and reduce the average out-of-pocket expenditures of $6,000 per senior citizen, to zero. 

Read the full letter at the Riverdale Press here.

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LETTER: Pay less with single-payer, Betsey Knapp, Riverdale Press

Your support of the New York Health Act shows leadership — and advocacy for the public good and fiscal efficiency.

Most Americans want cost-effective, universal, comprehensive health care. In Albany, it is blocked by those who depend on campaign contributions from Big Pharma and Big Insurance, or by those aligned with D.C. Republicans, who also look for these contributions, and who regard health care as a luxury too expensive for the poor or the sick.

The Riverdale Press is courageous in calling on Sen. Jeffrey Klein, who has co-sponsored the bill, to champion it among the Republicans with whom he caucuses. Sen. Klein has argued his caucusing with Republicans gets needed legislation passed. Well, now he can show us he was both sincere and insightful.

Sen. Klein, please work your influence. Sen. Kemp Hannon, who chairs the health committee, will surely respond to you.

Read the full letter at the Riverdale Press here.

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LETTER: Big push for universal health care, Dr. Jack Gorman, Riverdale Press

Your editorial endorsing the New York Health Act and urging Sen. Jeffrey Klein to step up and encourage his Republican colleagues to support this bill in the coming legislative session was persuasive, informative, and a much-needed voice.

The Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration seem intent on continuing to plague us with threats to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), an imperfect step in the right direction toward universal health care for Americans. 

Read the full letter at the Riverdale Press here.

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LETTER: Klein drags down senate, Peter Beitchman and Judy Fletcher, Riverdale Press

Thank you for calling out Sen. Jeff Klein for his duplicitous role in blocking the New York Health Act, which would provide single-payer, universal health care coverage in New York State.

While he has indeed given himself political cover by being a co-sponsor of the bill, he knows that it will never be brought to the floor for a vote. Why? Because the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference that he leads means that Republicans will remain in control of all committee chairs, controlling the legislative agenda.

Read the full letter at the Riverdale Press here.

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LETTER: Editorials are simply not emergencies, Ron Wegsman, Riverdale Press

Yes, health care reform is difficult — apparently, too difficult for state Sen. Jeffrey Klein.

He whines that he hasn’t been able to get a hearing on the New York Health Act. But if a legislator is truly committed to a bill, he will use his leverage and political capital to prevail upon his colleagues to move it forward — especially if he is in a leadership position.

Sen. Klein says caucusing with the Republicans in the state senate gives him influence over them. If that is the case, he should use that influence.

Read the full letter at the Riverdale Press here.

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LETTER: NY must embrace single-payer health care, Jennifer Kemp, Oneida Daily Dispatch

On a glorious early fall Sunday afternoon, 50 concerned citizens from Utica and the surrounding area spent two hours listening to a panel of speakers discuss single payer healthcare, and the systems that are being proposed at both the New York state and the federal US levels. The forum was organized by the Health Care Sub-Committee of Indivisible Mohawk Valley,

Dr. Sunny Aslam, assistant professor of psychiatry at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse and member of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), opened the forum by discussing the implications of single payer healthcare at the national level. Dr. Aslam noted that “No country that has adopted universal health care has ever gone back. Why? Because it is better healthcare. It’s also more efficient with only a 2-3 percent administrative cost compared to 12-18 percent the way the US does it now.”

Read the full letter at the Oneida Daily Dispatch here.

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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,

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 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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