PRESS RELEASE: NYC Council Speaker Johnson and Other Elected Officials Call for State Legislature and Governor to Pass Single-Payer Healthcare



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

12/6/2018

 

CONTACT:

Katie Robbins | katie@nyhcampaign.org | 917-657-4663

Anthony Feliciano | afeliciano@cphsnyc.org | 646-325-5317



NYC Council Speaker Johnson and Other Elected Officials Call for State Legislature and Governor to Pass Single-Payer Healthcare

 

City Hall, NY —  Today New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and numerous other city and state elected officials, labor leaders, and health professionals called for the State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign a bill establishing a single-payer system of guaranteed, publicly-funded healthcare for all New York State residents. The leaders spoke on City Hall steps to 150 supporters shortly before a hearing by the Council’s Health Committee, where more than 50 people testified in favor of Council Resolution 470 calling for passage of the New York Health Act (A.4738-A/S.4840-A). The bill would provide complete health coverage to all New Yorkers without deductibles, co-pays, restricted provider networks, or out-of-network charges. At the hearing, Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) announced that he and his Senate colleague, Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) will amend the bill next month to add full coverage of long-term care for all New Yorkers who require it, regardless of income.

 

The City Hall press conference was organized by the Campaign for New York Health, a broad coalition of 150 unions, healthcare organizations, community and civic groups, and elected officials. At the hearing,

New York City residents affiliated with supportive organization delivered testimony about the systemic problems in accessing healthcare, including long-term care services. Witnesses explained how exorbitant deductibles, copays, and out-of-network charges, along with ever-increasing premiums, cause many people to delay or deny necessary medical care, often with devastating effects. Others recounted the frightening experience of being unable to afford ever-increasing insurance premiums, leading to very harmful health consequences.

 

“I understand the fear and uncertainty that comes with not having health coverage, as I lost my health care shortly after being diagnosed HIV positive. It was awful. I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone, which is why I support single payer health care and am a proud sponsor of this bill. I hope the state legislature will make this a priority and pass this bill,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

 

“On behalf of Mayor de Blasio, thank you for the opportunity to submit comments in support of the New York Health Act... In order to have thriving, healthy communities, every person must have access to health care...The City of New York supports the New York Health Act and we call upon the State Legislature and Governor to pass a single-payer health system in New York State.” said Oxiris Barbot, MD, Acting Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Mitchell Katz, MD, President and CEO of NYC Health and Hospitals.

 

“I saw how having long-term care for some and not having it for others had a huge impact on the quality and length of my grandparents’ lives. So I’m committed to working to see that a single payer system includes comprehensive long-term care. And I urge the City Council to include that in their support for the New York Health Act,” said State Senator-elect Alessandra Biaggi.

 

Recent studies show that the New York Health Act can cover every New York resident, improve access to care, while spending less in total healthcare costs than the status quo. Advocates pointed out the tremendous savings in moving from the fragmented, privatized system to a streamlined publicly-financed system will alleviate the health insurance burden on local municipal budgets, as well as New York’s share of Medicaid payments, resulting in an estimated $9.4 billion – or 11% of the budget -- in savings for the city.

Recent electoral successes bolster advocates’ expectations for movement on this legislation in the coming session. A majority of the new Democratic Senate campaigned on the legislation or were cosponsors in the last session, including Senator-elect Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx), who spoke at the hearing about her own personal healthcare challenges. Statewide support of this legislation is growing, reflected in the 17 local cities, counties, and towns across New York that have already passed resolutions in support of the New York Health Act, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Kingston, and the counties of Rockland, Sullivan, and Tompkins.

 

The bill has been endorsed by the NYS Academy of Family Physicians, NYS American Academy of Pediatrics, NYS Nurses Association, Community Health Care Association of NYS,  Committee of Interns and Residents SEIU, Doctors Council SEIU, NY chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program, NYS AFL-CIO, 1199SEIU Healthcare Workers East, 32BJ SEIU, Communications Workers of America (CWA), Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1056 and 1179, United Auto Workers 9 & 9A, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, UFCW Local 1500, Capital District Area Labor Federation, Working Families Party, Green Party, Citizen Action, Community Service Society, NYPIRG, New York Statewide Senior Action Council, Disabled in Action, League of Women Voters, Make the Road NY, and many more.



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The Campaign for New York Health is a 501c4 organization dedicated to passing and implementing legislation for universal single-payer healthcare in New York State. We bring together over 150 organizations representing: community groups, labor unions, seniors, people with disabilities, nurses, teachers, patients, doctors, business leaders, faith groups, immigrants, and healthcare advocates, committed to the right to healthcare. Find out more at www.nyhcampaign.org

STATEMENTS IN SUPPORT OF CITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 470

 

“Every New Yorker should get the health care they need, without facing financial obstacles or hardships to get it,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, Assembly sponsor of the New York Health Act and chair of the Assembly Health Committee. “No one says they disagree with that. And the New York Health Act is the only plan that achieves that goal.”

 

"The New York Health Act is currently the only proposal that would create a more accessible, equitable, and affordable healthcare system for all New Yorkers, regardless of their wealth or immigration status,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “As the bill's Senate sponsor, I would like to thank City Council Speaker Corey Johnson for introducing the resolution in support of the New York Health Act and City Council Health Committee Chairman Mark Levine for holding this important hearing to further demonstrate the critical fiscal and public health benefits associated with this bill. I am committed to continue working with Assembly Member Richard Gottfried to make the New York Health Act a reality in New York State."

 

Every New Yorker deserves access to comprehensive healthcare. That's why I'm a co-sponsor of  New York Health Act, which will improve our healthcare system, lower costs, and shift the status quo once and for all. I thank Health Committee Chair Mark Levine for convening a hearing on this vital issue and look forward to working with my Democratic colleagues in the Majority to move this bill forward,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman

 

“Healthcare is a human right, and in New York State, despite its progressive reputation, we are failing thousands of people who are left without adequate care. Our state should be leading the way in providing comprehensive and affordable coverage by passing the NY Health Act and supporting those left behind in a system built for profit, not for people,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams.

 

“The New York Health Act will guarantee health care for all New Yorkers – regardless of immigration status – as it should be. No person should have to refrain from going to the hospital or getting medication because they don’t have health insurance or because the fees attached to their insurance are too high. This is a basic human right. And now, with the most progressive state Senate in New York’s history, there is no excuse. We must pass the New York Health Act,” said City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Immigration Committee Chair.

 

"Now that Democrats are in full control of Albany, it is time that we finally pass the New York Health Act and guarantee health care for every single New Yorker. With insurance and hospital costs continuing to rise and no private solution in sight, it is clear that there is no issue more pressing this year. As Chair of the Council's Committee on Hospitals, I call on the state to follow the Council's proposed resolution and seriously consider this bill,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera.

 

“I saw how having long-term care for some and not having it for others had a huge impact on the quality and length of my grandparents’ lives. So I’m committed to working to see that a single payer system includes comprehensive long-term care. And I urge the City Council to include that in their support for the New York Health Act,” said State Senator-elect Alessandra Biaggi.

 

“On behalf of Mayor de Blasio, thank you for the opportunity to submit comments in support of the New York Health Act... In order to have thriving, healthy communities, every person must have access to health care...The City of New York supports the New York Health Act and we call upon the State Legislature and Governor to pass a single-payer health system in New York State.” said Oxiris Barbot, MD, Acting Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Mitchell Katz, MD, President and CEO of NYC Health and Hospitals.



"Although our current system fails us all, the poor and communities of color suffer the most. People of color and immigrants bear the brunt of the failure of our current fragmented, privatized system. Single payer promotes equity and stands to benefit especially those who have been left out and left behind. If you see health as a human right, you should support the NY Health Act," stated Mary Bassett, MD, MPH, former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

 

“A single payer system will decrease the needless administrative costs of our current system, and allow us to devote our money and our time to meeting the health needs of the more than one million New Yorkers who rely on our services every year,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, NYC Health + Hospitals.

 

"It is no secret that nurses are passionate advocates for an improved Medicare for All system in New York State and the country to meet the moral imperative of guaranteeing high quality healthcare for all. We want to guarantee that the progress we make toward healthcare for all lifts the boats for every working person in the state and the country," stated Marva Wade, RN, Board Member of the New York State Nurses Association

 

“As physicians, we constantly see the devastating consequences for patients without health insurance. But we also witness the epidemic of under-insurance. Saddled with unaffordable deductibles and co-payments, many patients with insurance -- like the uninsured -- are forced to delay seeking care, stop their medications, and show up at emergency rooms for basic care. The New York Health Act guarantees coverage for all the uninsured and eliminates deductibles and co-payments for the insured. It protects the health of everybody in New York State.” said Oliver Fein, MD, Physicians for a National Health Program

 

A single payer healthcare system is essential for guaranteeing health care for our many patients who can’t afford it,” said Dr. Jessica Edwards, National President of the Committee of Interns and Residents, affiliated with Service Employees International Union. “In 2018, no one should have to choose between their health and putting food on the table or having a roof over their head. The New York Health Act must also protect healthcare for our own members, building on our successes through decades of collective bargaining. We appreciate the willingness of the bill’s sponsors, Assemblymember Gottfried and Senator Rivera, to ensure that union members don’t lose any of our hard-fought gains.”

 

“Racial segregation continues to exist in our healthcare system, due to lasting effects of historical precedents as well as inequities baked into healthcare financing. This segregated care and unequal funding inevitably results in disparate health outcomes. By removing the financial maldistribution in our healthcare system, the New York Health Act will be a crucial step toward health justice.” said Daniel Neghassi, MD Member of the NYSAFP Board of Directors.

 

“The RWDSU believes that healthcare is a human right, and that there’s no better way to secure that right than by universal single payer healthcare,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “We stand by the City Council’s resolution in support of the Senate and Assembly bills that would create comprehensive health coverage for all New Yorkers. As a union that organizes low wage workers, we know how hard it is for working people to afford health care. We need to change the broken health care system now.”

 

"A universal health care system that fully includes long-term care will be a life-changer for seniors, people with disabilities, and all New Yorkers struggling to provide care for their loved ones. As the fastest growing healthcare need, and the benefit that even New Yorkers with good coverage currently lack almost across the board, a universal long-term care benefit will strengthen an already powerful bill," said Bobbie Sackman, an advocate with the New York Caring Majority.

 

“As New York City’s leading health care provider for low-income LGBTQ communities, Callen-Lorde emphatically urges the City Council to pass Resolution 470 in support of the New York Health Act.” said Dr. Peter Meacher, Chief Medical Officer for Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. “LGBTQ people are more likely to be underinsured or uninsured. This lack of coverage compounds the multiple barriers to accessing healthcare this population faces contributing to well documented disparate, poor health outcomes. Stable, adequate coverage for all New Yorkers proposed in the New York Health Act will lead to improved health outcomes and lower longterm costs for LGBTQ people and everyone with a chronic health condition while allowing for more effective, accessible, preventative healthcare and public health interventions to improve the wellbeing of the entire population. A single payer health system in New York might not solve all our problems, but will go a long way toward advancing health, economic and racial equity.”

 

“More than 400,000 New Yorkers remain uninsured because of their immigration status. The New York Health Act's universal coverage would be a vast improvement over our current discriminatory system. It is time to pass the New York Health Act and create equal coverage for all New Yorkers," said Max Hadler, Director of Health Policy at the New York Immigration Coalition.

 

"With the seemingly unending onslaught of attacks against immigrant communities, most recently with the threat of chilling changes to the public charge rule, African Services applauds the leadership and moral authority shown today by Speaker Corey Johnson with the introduction of Resolution 470. Res. 470 and the establishment of a universal single payer health system, will ensure all New Yorkers — regardless of immigration status —access to the basic human right of quality healthcare", said Amanda Lugg, Director of Advocacy at African Services Committee.    

 

“Nearly half of Asian American New Yorkers lack the basic income to make ends meet, and 1 in 5 Asian New Yorkers do not health insurance. Even our community members that do have health insurance struggle to afford needed medical care," said Wayne Ho, President & CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council. "In today’s climate, many immigrants are shying away from health insurance for fear it will hurt their immigration status. Passing the New York Health Act is one of the most powerful things that New York State can do to protect immigrant New Yorkers."

 

“I believe strongly that creating conditions for health wellbeing require many solutions. Single payer legislation in New York State would provide an important step to improve access to comprehensive care regardless of income, pre-existing conditions or ability to pay — an extremely important achievement that would benefit many,” says Anthony Feliciano, Director of the Commission on the Public’s Health System. “As a Medicare for All advocate I know insurance alone does not solve the serious, persistent and growing health equity problems we have with health outcomes in NYC. But we can not continue to have a health care system that is about profits and not people”.

 

“We see this resolution as a critical statement on the importance of universal, affordable, and accessible health care for all New Yorkers,” said Emily Miles, Chief Program and Policy Officer at FPWA. “Healthcare is one of the top challenges to achieving economic equity and the New York Health Act would not only improve universal comprehensive health coverage for every New Yorker but could potentially save billions. The time to act is now to ensure that all New Yorkers can access quality, affordable care.”

 

“The APA community continues to have the highest linguistic isolation and poverty rates in New York,” say Vanessa Leung and Anita Gundanna, Co-Executive Directors of Coalition for Asian American Children & Families, “Due to language and cultural barriers, complications with or lack of immigration status, and the stigma of using public benefits, health coverage is an especially challenging issue for APAs.  The New York Health Act will provide universal health coverage, removing barriers to accessing care and providing residents with more quality and comprehensive benefits.”

 

"I am the mother of a nine-year-old boy who desperately needs New York State to pass the New York Health Act. Seven years ago, my perfectly healthy and typically developing almost-three-year-old son woke up having a seizure. He was admitted to our neighborhood hospital where over the next week and a half we watched him lose his ability to walk, talk, swallow, focus his eyes, and reliably breathe. He was eventually diagnosed with an autoimmune encephalitis. About two months into what turned out to be a fifteen-month hospitalization, I started receiving calls from the billing office for all of the doctors practicing at the hospital, to ask why I kept choosing out-of-network providers. I was informed that while the hospital had a contract with our insurance, the doctors did not. In truth, I did not have a single choice of provider while my son was in-patient and seen by whomever happened to be on service. Our lives since the onset of his illness have been a maddening maze of healthcare bureaucracies. Like many diseases, our son’s unpredictable illness could happen to anyone, at any time. My son, my husband and I are counting on our elected officials, both here and in Albany, to harness the political will to finally pass the New York Health Act,” said Sandra Stein, New Yorker and Mother.

 

“I am a native New Yorker who owns her own small business that is too small to have a health insurance plan but pays more taxes than some major corporations. My company spends around seven figures a year in my beloved city and as a "freelancer" I can no longer get a PPO or even a good health insurance plan. I can't even get close to the quality of health insurance my elected officials get. I am one of over four million freelancers in New York who are falling through the cracks,” said small business owner Dana Offenbach, Owner of CinemaStreet Pictures, LLC.

 

"New York's seniors are facing the most extreme financial insecurity in decades with healthcare costs consuming upwards of 20 percent of their incomes. Furthermore, those who need long-term care services must first impoverish themselves in order to be eligible for Medicaid. We know there is a better way: an improved "Medicare for All" system. Statewide Senior Action Council applauds the Assembly for passing the NY Health Act, reaffirming their support for a healthcare system that is truly affordable and meets the needs of New York's seniors," said Maria Alvarez, Executive Director, New York Statewide Senior Action Council.

 

“Disabled In Action of Metropolitan NY believes there is a great need for the NY Health Act and we would like to see it include support for long-term care so people with disabilities can get needed care and live up to our potential,” said Jean Ryan of Disabled In Action.

 

“Each year I see more medical students joining the fight for single payer healthcare,” said Alec Feuerbach, coordinator of the nine medical school chapters of Students for a National Health Program in the Metro New York area. “I believe the reason for this is simple. We are in medical school because we want to help people, but every day we see patients facing an impossible dilemma: go without needed care, or go bankrupt trying to pay for it. The New York Health Act would allow us to return to our core purpose of becoming healers.”

 

“The Academy of Medical & Public Health Services is a public health not-for-profit providing health access and care coordination services for immigrants who are ineligible for health insurance in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Far too often, our community members forgo critical care due to the lack of health coverage -- even when it means suffering from the pain of a fractured molar for years that in turn affects their ability to maintain a healthy diet and leading to a number of other health issues like anemia, osteoporosis, and diabetes; or even if it means living with high blood pressure without the necessary medications, placing them at the risk of experiencing eventual heart failure. Healthcare is not a privilege, but a basic human right.” said Mon Yuck Yu, MPA, Executive Vice President & Chief of Staff.

 

“Within New York City, the Bronx has the largest percentage of adults without health insurance (22%) and the largest percentage of adults going without needed medical care (12%),” said Charmaine Ruddock, Project Director for Bronx Health REACH at the Institute for Family Health. “The New York Health Act would remove one of the biggest barriers to healthcare access, enabling more Bronx residents to live healthier, longer lives."