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

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

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

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

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

Our population is only 320 million.

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

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

Read the full letter at the Riverdale Press here.

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

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

Read the full letter at the Post-Star here

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

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

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

Read the full letter at the Times-Union here.

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

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

Read the full article at the Post-Star here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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LETTER: Senate should pass NY Health Act, Ethan Bodnaruk, Auburn Citizen

Dr. Buchberger’s (The Citizen, 7/4/17) article “Repealing and replacing ObamaCare” hits the nail on the head: our private health insurance system that creates huge profits and poor health care is an awful lot like an “insurance crime family” shakedown of the whole country.

The New York Health Act is a solution to this predicament, one that will drastically improve health outcomes, drastically decrease costs for 98 percent of New Yorkers (including eliminating co-pays and deductibles), and be a boon to businesses and places of worship which struggle with expensive employee health plans and burdensome paperwork. It would place a tiered payroll tax on all paychecks in New York, with extremely low rates for the middle and lower classes (zero for the very poorest) and sensible rates for the rich and on high-end investments. Everyone would be covered, and the state would pay all doctor bills out of these funds: a single payer system. Everyone would have their choice of doctor and there would be no in or out of network status at all.

According to an economic study of the NY Health Act, its implementation would save over $40 billion in the first year alone and save thousands of lives annually. With everyone covered and the efficiencies of a single payer system eliminating all the greedy private insurance companies, we can take care of all New Yorkers at a lower cost!

Read the full letter at the Citizen here.

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LETTER: Single-payer health care would save money, lives, Sarah Outterson-Murphy, Oneonta Daily Star

In last week’s Sound Off, some writers seem confused about how New York Health Act might affect their finances. Even though the bill would technically be a “tax increase,” a single-payer system would actually save us lots of money for three main reasons:

1) Employers currently pay tens of thousands of dollars per year per employee for private insurance, so directing some of that money to the single-payer system instead of high-cost private insurance will leave more money for workers and small businesses.

2) Up to 20 percent of what insurance companies charge goes to administrative costs and profit. Single-payer would cost closer to 1 percent in overhead, like public Medicare. So the total costs for care will be less.

3) New Yorkers making over 400,000/year would pay their fair share for health care, so that people making under 400,000/year (98 percent of us!) can pay far less. For example, everyone making under 50k will pay ZERO for health care.

Read the full letter at the Daily Star here.

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Reed hosts two town halls Saturday, Wellsville Daily Reporter

LINDLEY — Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, hosted two town halls Saturday, one at the Belfast Fire Department and another afterward at the Lindley-Presho Volunteer Fire Department.

In Lindley the discussion included the normal town hall topics, beginning with healthcare before touching on issues such as the Russia controversy and the environment. The town halls were the first Reed’s hosted since the GOP baseball shootings in early June.

Reed said in Washington, he believes the Senate will make a determination Tuesday on whether to move forward with the new GOP-led healthcare bill.

Read the full story at Wellsville Daily Reporter.

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LETTER: Sen. Little numbers are questioned, Agata Stanford et al, Glens Falls Post-Star

Now, it is vital for readers to understand the sources of Senator Little’s data are from opposition research groups and are not impartial studies. They were chosen specifically to refute the truly independent studies we offered which supports New York Health. 

Read the full letter at the Post-Star here.

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LETTER: Single-payer health care would benefit business, Carla Nordstrom, Oneonta Daily Star

The Daily Star’s July 5th editorial on a single-payer health care plan was spot-on. Not only would it benefit millions of people, but the New York Health Act would be good for business, too.

Retail, service and agricultural businesses could get out of the health care business and concentrate on growing their own business. Their employees would be healthier and with everybody in the system there would be no need for mandates.

Read the full letter at the Daily Star here.

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LETTER: Health care needs to be a priority, Charles A. Gowing, Auburn Citizen

Dr. Dale Buchberger's July 4 column was especially prescient. The Republican majority is feverishly working to deprive millions of Americans of health insurance to reduce the debit ceiling and provide tax relief to wealthy individuals etc. New York state has many of those millions of citizens.

I can't understand the reasoning behind wanting to balance a budget vs. keeping citizens healthy. How could any citizen withhold or deny health care to those citizens in need and unable to help themselves?

Read the full letter at the Citizen here.

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LETTER: Truly try to fix US healthcare, Ron Widelec, Long Island Newsday

My organization, Long Island Activists, wants Republican state senators to support the New York Health Act, a single-payer plan. In the legislative session that just ended, the Republicans refused to allow the bill to come to a vote, even though it had 31 co-sponsors in this 63-member chamber.

While other groups are focusing on protecting a failed status quo — the Affordable Care Act — my organization believes that Medicare-for-all is the only viable solution to provide affordable health care for all Americans.

Read the original letter at Newsday here.

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LETTER: Single payer health plan would benefit our area, Michael Kaufman, Oneonta Daily Star

Thank you for your editorial supporting single-payer health care, which would simplify and extend coverage to all Americans for all medically necessary treatments without premiums, co-payments, or deductibles. Volunteers in our area have organized for this for decades. The latest poll shows 60 percent of Americans now support a single-payer plan.

In the Senate, support for single-payer is growing: Long-time supporter Bernie Sanders has been joined by Sen. Elizabeth Warren and now our own Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. And in the House, as of early July, 113 U.S. Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of H.R. 676, the House single-payer bill. However, our representative, John Faso, refuses to sign onto the bill. Instead, he twice voted to take away insurance from 23 million Americans — including thousands in our area. It seems he wants to return us to the days before Obamacare, when 52 million Americans were uninsured.

Read the full letter at the Daily Star here.

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The state Senate fails to bring 'Medicare for all' to N.Y., Poughkeepsie Journal

POUGHKEEPSIE — As this year’s state legislative session came to a close, health insurance companies announced their intent to take 17 percent more money from their customers in New York next year than they did this year. One company wants to raise rates by as much as 47 percent.

We could have ended this gouging of ordinary people by enacting the New York Health Act, a bill that guarantees access to quality, affordable healthcare to every New Yorker through a Medicare-for-all system. So far, President Donald Trump has failed to throw more than 2.7 million New Yorkers off health insurance by getting rid of the Affordable Care Act. But he is sure to try again, and a durable remedy is urgently needed. To that end, in May my Assembly colleagues and I passed the New York Health Act for a third consecutive year, but my friends in the Republican-controlled Senate did not. Read the full story at Poughkeepsie Journal.

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LETTER: Argument against single-payer health care flawed, David Craig, Ithaca Journal

Herb Masser's July 3 diatribe against single-payer health insurance is logically flawed.

He asks us to imagine that New York has mandated that there be only one car dealer in New York. He asks us to imagine there is only one store for us to buy groceries.

We do not get our health care from insurance companies. We get our health care from doctors, nurses and hospitals. We are not being told that there will only be one doctor, one nurse or one hospital for us to get our health care from.

Do not listen to fallacious arguments against single-payer health care.

Read the original letter at the Ithaca Journal here.

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LETTER: Senators should back progressive bills, Julienne Verdi, Staten Island Advance

When politicians refuse to do the most simple aspect of their job, we all suffer. The progress of progressive legislation coming to a vote in the New York State Senate has been abysmal.

Time, after time again, the NYS Senate has pushed back voting on many progressive bills that have passed the NYS Assembly. Our NYS Senators Diane Savino and Andrew Lanza have the power to change that.

Read the full letter at the Advance here.

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In Our Opinion: Single-payer health care plan makes a lot of sense, The Daily Star

ONEONTA — Let’s face it, you don’t understand all the nuances of Obamacare or the various Republican plans to replace it.

Don’t feel bad. Neither do we.

Like you, however, we can easily figure out that a Republican scheme that would take health insurance away from more than 20 million Americans over the next 10 years and remove $800 billion or so from Medicare funding isn’t going to be particularly popular.

That’s why only 12 percent of Americans support the GOP plan, according to the USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll released Friday. Read the full story at The Daily Star.

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LETTER: Seeking aid through proposed health bill, Agata Stanford, Glens Falls Post-Star

Friends and I met with Senator Betty Little to address a problem for citizens in our district with the imminent repeal of the ACA and with the hope that she would support the solution, which lies within the New York Health Bill. It passed the Assembly three times, but needs one more senator to bring it to a vote.

S4840 is the most important and consequential legislation ever set before Senator Little. Millions of New Yorkers, particularly the poorest in counties in our district, will benefit with its passing. In three counties poverty is near or above 20 percent (U.S. Census); people will lose Medicaid benefits with the ACA repeal.

Read the full letter at the Post-Star here.

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LETTER: Senate bill shows need for single payer, Esther Confino, The Island Now

The Senate is writing a health-care bill in secret because they are ashamed or should be ashamed of a bill that is simply inhumane.

In their heart of hearts if they pretend to care about their fellow man, which at this point, is in serious doubt, this travesty would never see the light of day.

Shame on all you guys; note that a bunch of men only are concocting this unprincipled bill.

And defunding Planned Parenthood just adds to the irony.

Let us go back to basics; you should grow up and admit that health care should not be a business.

Read the full letter at the Island Now here.

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LETTER: Health Insurance is important, Judith Esterquest, Manhasset Press

Remember the “death panels” we were warned about a decade ago? Well, there’s one operating behind closed doors right now that will take health insurance from tens of millions of Americans. They assure us lack of health insurance doesn’t kill—and that millionaires need massive tax cuts.
Here on Long Island, we wait—neither of our NY Senators will vote for the “Repeal and Reform” AHCA. (Representatives Peter King and Lee Zeldin each voted “aye.”)
We can, however, work to protect New Yorkers from the consequences of this deadly bill.
The New York Health Act is currently tied up in the NY Senate Healthcare Committee, chaired by NY Senator Kemp Hannon, representing Long Islanders just south of us. He is supported by our NY Senator, Elaine Phillips, whose office often doesn’t ask for the names or addresses of constituents supporting this bill “because there are so many.”

Read the full letter at the Manhasset Press here.

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LETTER: Single-payer healthcare would benefit Americans, Richard Clements, Buffalo News

A recent Another Voice by Sally Pipes, warning of how single-payer health care “would be a nightmare,” is simply a series of unsupported falsehoods and easily refuted legends reminiscent of the notorious “Harry and Louise” horror story ads that were funded by the insurance industry to help scuttle the Clinton administration’s health plan in 1994.

One refrain is the prediction of the “disastrous effects on the economy,” easily disproved by the fact that Canada’s economy hasn’t cratered in the 49 years it has had low-cost, tax-funded single-payer health insurance as a benefit for all.

When businesses would have their costs cut and greatly benefit from having the burden of providing health insurance employee benefits lifted, they would logically be attracted to New York rather than flee.

Read the full letter at the Buffalo News here.

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LETTER: The time has come for universal healthcare, Susan Woods, Syracuse Eagle News

The time has come for the United States to provide for and protect its citizens — the true leaders of any democracy — in the most basic way: with universal (single-payer) health care. Every other major country in the world, and even some smaller ones, have understood its necessity and risen to meet the need. 

Some people say they don’t want to pay for other people’s health care, but the reality is they already are and always have been. And another truth is this: Universal health care saves money. When the government can negotiate pricing on behalf of the taxpayers, costs drop; when hundreds of thousands of people are no longer going bankrupt each year because of medical bills, the burden on taxpayers to pick up that slack is lessened; when more people are able to get care they need in order to work or attend school, and employers can focus on paying wages and not insurers, our economy grows. 

If we can keep costs low and coverage high, we have everything to gain. 

Read the full letter at the Eagle News here.

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LETTER: New York Health Act needs a public push, Terri Roben, Schenectady Daily Gazette

The June 20 Washington Post editorial about single-payer health insurance argues that a simple, sane plan couldn’t work at the dysfunctional Washington level of politics and therefore, we should adopt our own New York Health Act.
Ninety-eight percent of us would save, on average, $2,200 yearly — a significant savings. 
All we need is one more state senator, like Jim Tedisco, to support single payer. He is known for his compassion to animals, and I assume he has the same level of concern for his human constituents. Local voters would be very grateful if he gets this out of his health committee.
Doctors could spend more time with their patients and less time dealing with the paperwork of 150 different profit-driven insurance plans, not to mention paying for more staff to manage all of this.
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LETTER: Urging Senator Bonacic: Support NY Health Act, Dr. David Nidorf, Middletown Times Herald-Record

As a doctor, I’ve seen how the lack of affordable health insurance affects real people. Patients avoid costly doctor visits and preventative care until a curable cancer becomes deadly or a chronic disease becomes an emergency. Doctors and hospitals are in a terrible position when we see patients who need our help but can’t afford to pay - hospitals can’t provide free care to everyone. People are dying who don’t have to!

Read the full letter at the Times Herald-Record here.

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LETTER: Consider the savings with single-payer care, Judith Esterquest, Washington Post

Remember the two decades of fierce, fear-inducing, false attacks on Medicare? It would bankrupt the government, overwhelm hospitals and destroy our health-care system. Sound familiar?

Private health insurance has many times the administrative costs of Medicare. It also adds significantly to the operating costs of doctors’ offices and hospitals. Hospitals have more insurance billing and reimbursement clerks than beds. Universal, single-payer health care would dramatically reduce malpractice premiums (by eliminating the cost of future medical treatment). Focusing on costs without addressing all projected savings is irresponsible.

Why not admit that the political cost of moving to single-payer frightens too many interest groups?

Read the original letter at the Washington Post here.

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LETTER: NY Health Act is the best option, Patricia Sprott, Schenectady Daily Gazette

Today there is a strong pull to the idea of no taxes. Many groups try to paint a picture that without taxes and government services we would be better off. We need both and we need to place the burden properly. The groups advocating no taxes are backed by billionaires who don’t want to pay. No taxes will not help the regular person. 
The AHCA (Affordable Health Care Act) bill is an example of bad management of taxing. It does not solve the health care problem and puts the burden on lower and middle class and elderly. The ACA is a better work in progress, but look at the New York Health Act before our state government. Income is taxed on a prorated scale; the Medicaid tax in property taxes goes away. Same health care; you pick any doctor you want.
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ARTICLE: Protestors Urge Senator Murphy to Support Health Act, The Northern Westchester Examiner

On a dreary Friday afternoon, CD17Indivisible, along with several activists, held a Die-In urging Senator Terrence Murphy (R-Yorktown) to support the New York Health Act in the event that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed at the national level.

Dressed in black carrying imitation tombstones saying, “Murphy’s inaction could kill me,” and chanting slogans such as “Senator Murphy show you care, New York health care is just and fair,” close to 50 local residents gathered at the corner of Murphy’s Restaurant in Yorktown standing together in support of single-payer healthcare for all New Yorkers.

“People are going to die,” organizer Marianna Stout said during the June 16 protest. “If the ACA is repealed, there will be people who do not have health care who have pre-existing conditions or conditions that require that they have health service frequently and they won’t get it and can’t afford it and they are going to die.”

Read the full article at the Westchester Examiner.

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