Lawmakers Reintroduce the New York Health Act;
Advocates Celebrate Inclusion of Long-Term Care and Support Services
The bill is now amended to include long-term care and support services, making it the most comprehensive, progressive, state-level universal healthcare bill in the country
Albany, NY—Advocates celebrated the reintroduction of the New York Health Act [A.5248, S.3577] today, calling attention to its highly-anticipated revision to include long-term care and support services. This development is the result of years of organizing by women, seniors, people with disabilities, family caregivers, home care workers, unions, undocumented people, and the uninsured who worked with supportive elected officials to include these necessary services as a key component of the benefit package of the proposed universal healthcare system. Eighty-one Assembly Members and twenty-two Senators were listed as original cosponsors on the bill upon reintroduction.
“We estimate that there are approximately 44 million unpaid family caregivers in the US providing almost 90% of care. Home care workers provide the rest. Out of two million home care workers, 90% are women, 53% are women of color. As the population of older adults in New York and across the United States rises, so does the imperative need for caregiving and an improved system of providing long-term care. That is why inclusion of long-term care in single-payer is such a visionary step. It places true value on services and supports to enable aging adults and people with disabilities to access the full scope of care.” Rachel McCullough, co-director of the New York Caring Majority.
After passing the New York Health Act in the Assembly four years in a row with overwhelming support, advocates are optimistic that it will begin to move through the legislative process in the Senate. The respective chairs of the Senate and Assembly Health Committees and lead sponsors of the bill, Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, pledged to hold public hearings after the budget to further advance the debate.
“Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, particularly women, are being suffocated by the financial burden placed on them as they provide long-term care for their loved ones,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chairman of the Senate Health Committee and sponsor of the bill. “By covering long-term care in the New York Health Act, we are aiming to provide aging adults and people with disabilities access to the quality care they need while providing financial relief for hard-working families in our state and dramatically improving the system for those who provide care. I look forward to continue working together with my colleagues and key stakeholders to make healthcare a right and not a privilege in New York State."
“Long-term care is an intolerable drain on family finances and a burden on thousands of family caregivers – disproportionately women – who provide unpaid care to family members,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried, Assembly sponsor of the bill. “We can cover long-term care, providing dignity and financial security to millions of aging and disabled New Yorkers, under a progressive public financing model. Every New Yorker should get the health care they need, including long-term supports and services, without facing financial obstacles or hardships to get it.”
While the Governor has expressed support for a single-payer ‘Medicare for All’ system at the federal level, he has not yet lent support to the state-level proposal. Advocates point out that the RAND Corporation’s analysis of the bill found that with long-term care services included in the benefit package, a single-payer system as described in the NY Health Act will cost less than the current system overall, while also improving the lives of people who currently must impoverish themselves to be eligible for Medicaid in order to access long-term care services.
“1199SEIU caregivers understand all too well the access barriers that many New Yorkers face to healthcare,” said Gabby Seay, 1199SEIU’s Political Action Director. “As our population ages, and the demand for long-term care undoubtedly increases, it will be imperative that we have measures in place to ensure that New Yorkers are able to receive the care they need. We commend Senator Rivera and Assembly Member Gottfried for their commitment to our shared vision of healthcare access for all New Yorkers.
Nurses are on the front line of patient care, well aware that healthcare access is not simply a matter of who is insured and who is not," said Marva Wade, RN and New York State Nurses Association Board Member. "A crisis exists for many of our insured patients struggling to afford the co-pays, deductibles, out-of-network charges, and shifting RX formularies. This results in wasted resources spent navigating this profit-driven system, not to mention limited health access and poor health outcomes. The New York Health Act is the cure for this broken healthcare system!"
“By passing the NY Health Act, we will be on a clear path to truly universal, affordable healthcare -- more comprehensive than any existing plan or proposal with inclusion of long-term care benefits. Passing the bill will trigger an implementation process that sets up commissions to address transition issues, financing, negotiation of reimbursement, and regional access issues. But as long as we keep the wasteful, profit-seeking private health insurance corporations at the center of our system, we will struggle to afford and access the health care that we need. Providers will continue to burn out as they fight insurance companies to get their patients needed care. Many hospitals and clinics will continue to chase profitable care delivery models, not what the population actually needs to stay healthy. People will continue to make difficult choices to afford care they need. We need guaranteed healthcare in New York. We need the NY Health Act.” Katie Robbins, Director, Campaign for New York Health.
Additional Support Quotes:
“The New York Health Act is a comprehensive universal health package that will benefit all New Yorkers. It is absurd that residents have to choose between paying for a meal or seeing a doctor. Under this package, regardless of disability, length, or level of care, everyone will be covered. I want to applaud Senator Rivera for sponsoring this crucial piece of legislation that will benefit everyone.” - State Senator Jamaal Bailey
State Senator Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx/Westchester) said, “I know from my own family experience just how important long term care is. Having it or not having it can make a huge difference in both the quality and the length of life. Adding long-term care makes it that much more important to pass the New York Health Act.”
“The New York Health Act just keeps getting better, and now is our time to get the job done. With the addition of long-term care and support services, NYHA will truly provide universal coverage. The creation of a single payer system will start us on the path to reforming medical billing and prioritizing quality of care of quantity of services rendered. I commend Assembly Member Gottfried and Senator Rivera for their perseverance in pushing for a more just healthcare system in New York State, and I am proud to stand with them in pushing for NYHA’s swift passage.” - State Senator Robert Jackson
"With the Trump administration continuing its efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, it’s critical that New York State step up and ensure that every resident has access to quality healthcare. We need to ensure that any universal system not only gets medical costs under control and provides a high level of care, but is also affordable.” - Senator Pete Harckham
"Making sure that all New Yorkers have access to the health care they need is crucial," said State Senator Brian Kavanagh, who represents Lower Manhattan and western Brooklyn. "We've already achieved higher rates of access than many states through our state-based health insurance exchange, public hospitals, community-based clinics, and many other initiatives, and of course we have some of the best doctors and hospitals in the world. But we still have a long way to go to ensure access, maintain the highest quality standards, and control costs. We cannot allow a person's age, income, wealth, employment, or other status prevent them from receiving excellent care. We also cannot allow major illness to bankrupt New Yorkers. Re-introduction of the New York Health Act restarts an essential conversation about how we will achieve these goals in our state. I applaud Senator Rivera and Assemblymember Gottfried for their long-standing leadership, and I look forward to working with them, our colleagues in the Senate and the Assembly, and the Governor's office to create a healthcare system that is better able to meet the needs of all New Yorkers."
“When you get down to it, our health insurance system is making unhealthy decisions for us as individuals and as a society. The New York Health Act will guarantee health care for all New Yorkers, while saving billions of dollars in health care costs. The changes that have been made in this new version of the bill, like long-term care and support services, are necessary and encouraging. I am confident that we can continue to perfect this bill and put New York at the forefront of providing smart, cost-effective health care coverage for all of our residents.” - State Senator Rachel May
"The private insurance companies and pharmaceutical billionaires would have you believe that single-payer isn’t feasible here in New York or anywhere. Governor Cuomo would rather delay action by creating a commission made up of the people who profit from the current system. From a public health perspective, an economic perspective, and a human rights perspective, private commercial health insurance has failed. This movement and the new Democratic majority is not going to fall for these tricks. Today’s reintroduction and amendment is the result of years of organizing by women, seniors, people with disabilities, family caregivers, unions, home care workers, undocumented people, and the uninsured. And we're just getting started." - State Senator Julia Salazar
"The re-introduction of the New York Health Act with inclusion of long-term care is precedent setting and will make these vital services accessible to thousands of people who need them. And, the labor protections ensure these jobs will be good jobs. We are proud to support the New York Health Act and our partners moving this critical work." - Ai-jen Poo, Co-Director of Caring Across Generations, Director of National Domestic Workers Alliance
“NYC Health + Hospitals is supportive of a single payer option,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals. “Such a system will decrease needless administrative costs and allow us to invest more in meeting the health needs of the million New Yorkers who rely on our services every year.”
“With the rise of e-commerce more and more companies are treating workers as disposable in our industry, giving them just under the threshold of hours they need to qualify for basic health insurance. At the same time these warehouse workers suffer injuries that impact them for life and are left without any ability to recover from the injuries they sustain. E-commerce giants are fostering a generation of people who will be out of work at just 30 years old. The New York Health Act would ensure no matter what hours you’re working you’re insured. This bill is critical to giving working people the fundamental care they need to survive in the new world of e-commerce.” - Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU
“The single payer movement continues to gain momentum because our health care system continues to erode under the weight of useless and redundant administrative costs that drain resources that should be devoted to patient care and innovation. The NY Health Act addresses the deficiencies in the insurance model by providing a single funding source, a consistent and efficient administrative environment for processing claims and a collective bargaining between the single payer and health care providers to assure ongoing refinement of the entire mechanism for providing and paying for health care. New Yorkers need and deserve nothing less than complete reform of our health care system.” - Vita Grasso, MPA, CAE, Executive Vice President NYS Academy of Family Physicians
"New York's seniors are facing the most extreme financial insecurity in decades with healthcare costs consuming upwards of 20% 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." - Maria Alvarez, Executive Director, New York Statewide Senior Action Council
“Once and for all, the New York Health Act would resolve the intractable problems facing our health care system—covering the 1.1 million remaining uninsured and making coverage for everyone else affordable, without onerous deductibles or cost-sharing,” said Elisabeth R. Benjamin, Vice President of Health Initiatives at the Community Service Society of New York, “While we work to establish New York Health, our state leaders should take the lead of other states by adopting measures needed right now. For example, they should address the urgent needs of the remaining 1.1 million uninsured by expanding coverage to immigrants and adopting a state premium assistance program.”
“Disabled In Action of Metropolitan NY says yes to the NY Health Act because long-term care is a right! Our homes, not nursing homes!” - Jean Ryan, President, Disabled In Action of Metropolitan NY (DIA)
"As physicians, we see patients every day suffering needlessly because private health insurance companies charge unaffordable co-pays and deductibles, and then ignore physicians’ professional judgment to arbitrarily deny needed care. The New York Health Act is the evidence-based cure for what ails our healthcare system. Especially welcome in the new bill is the inclusion of long-term care, which now impoverishes so many patients and families. We urge the Legislature, rather than abetting the Governor’s delay-via-study-commission, to finally recognize health care as a human right by passing this bill.” - Oliver Fein, MD, Board Chair of Physicians for a National Health Program - New York Metro Chapter
"On average, we are paying twice as much for healthcare as our counterparts in most developed countries. Healthcare has become a profit-driving commodity. No one should be profiting from the suffering of others. Since 2009, The AFL-CIO has endorsed the enactment of single-payer healthcare. It’s long past time to get healthcare off the negotiating table and into law as a human right. The New York Health Act will ensure broad-based , comprehensive healthcare for all and achieve this objective." - Bill Ritchie, President, Albany County Central Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO)
“We see the inclusion of comprehensive long-term care coverage in the New York Health Act as a landmark statement about the importance of universal, affordable, and accessible health care for all New Yorkers, making it the most progressive and comprehensive single-payer bill in the nation. Healthcare often is one of the greatest barriers to economic stability, especially for seniors living on a fixed income and home-care workers, who are among the lowest paid across the state. With this amendment, the New York Health Act would cover more services for every New Yorker while ultimately saving billions. We call on our legislators to put this value to action and pass the New York Health Act.” - Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director of FPWA.
“All New Yorkers deserve the same high-quality care, regardless of the size of their pocketbooks. The New York Health Act would eliminate the financial barriers to care and dramatically improve health outcomes," said Jessica Wisneski, Co-Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York. "We must also pass a system of public campaign financing, so pharmaceutical giants and private insurers can’t use their political influence to inflate their profits and chip away at our care."
“With this universal long-term care amendment, the New York Health Act has now become the most progressive, comprehensive, and feminist single-payer bill anywhere in the country. This is the bold action that New Yorkers voted for in November. This is courageous leadership that we are looking to our new Democratic Majority to show. It’s time for New York to lead the nation and set the agenda by passing the New York Health Act.” - Bobbie Sackman, member leader of the New York Caring Majority
“Communities of color are disproportionately affected by health inequity in our city and state. As residents of the Bronx, we have been painfully aware of the suffering caused by health disparities in the current health system. As a member of a racial justice organization committed to health care justice, we understand that health access is a matter of life or death for our communities We urge Senators across the State to pass the New York Health Act. Health is a human right and our livelihoods depend our elected officials guaranteeing that right” - D’Andre Penn is a health justice committee member @ Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, and an advocate for equitable health access in the Bronx and beyond.
“Truly universal, comprehensive health care – including long term care – will be critical to eliminating disparities and advancing health equity in New York. Callen-Lorde believes the New York Health Act can help provide a much-needed reset for our state’s current fragmented healthcare system. We applaud Assemblyman Gottfried and Senator Rivera for their leadership on this bill, and we are hopeful that we’ll soon be discussing how to implement this transformative piece of legislation.” - Wendy Stark, Executive Director of Callen-Lorde Community Health Center.
"We are excited to support the New York Health Act, and we celebrate the inclusion of long term care coverage. Our state has the capacity to make health care - not just health insurance- available to everyone, without regard to their ability to pay. It's our moral obligation to make this a reality. Failing to do so means lives and livelihoods continue to be threatened unnecessarily by inaccessible and unaffordable care." - Rev. Emily McNeill, executive director, Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS
"More than 400,000 undocumented New Yorkers remain uninsured because of their immigration status. The New York Health Act would end the state's discrimination against immigrant families by providing universal coverage to all New York residents. The time to act is now, to ensure the well-being of all New Yorkers." - Max Hadler, Director of Health Policy at the New York Immigration Coalition.
"Indivisible was founded to change what is politically possible when it comes to issues like healthcare. Here in New York State, we made progressive issues like the NY Health Act a priority, which helped deliver a Democratic majority to the Senate. Now we expect the majority to deliver on what we voted for: universal, guaranteed healthcare must be a priority this session." - Lauren Boc, State Policy Manager, Indivisible NY
“The voters of New York recently elected the largest progressive majority in more than 100 years, and it’s time for our state to lead the country toward comprehensive universal single payer healthcare by passing the New York Health Act. Guaranteed healthcare for all is not just an abstract campaign promise but a concrete choice made by the voters of New York. The grassroots community stands firmly behind that demand. It’s time to pass New York Health” - Ting Barrow, New York Progressive Action Network
“If New York State truly wants to be a Sanctuary state and protect immigrants, then we should pass the New York Health Act urgently, and the reintroduction of the bill with the full inclusion of long term care is a huge step in the right direction. Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI), immigrants, and low income New Yorkers struggle to afford care even when they have insurance, and long term care is a crippling issue for our seniors, over a third of whom live under the poverty line. In the current political climate of fear, many community members are de-enrolling from the ACA and other federal insurance program out of concern for their immigration status. Passing the New York Health Act with long term care will address all of these issues and more, building a truly accessible and affordable system for all New Yorkers.” - Carlyn Cowen, Chief Policy and Public Affairs Officer of CPC (Chinese-American Planning Council), the nation’s largest AAPI social services agency.
“Metro Justice believes the New York Health Act will make massive strides toward health, economic, and racial justice in New York. We are excited to see our representatives prioritize these causes and make history in New York by passing the nation’s first Medicare for All bill.” - Rohith Palli, Metro Justice
"While New York has made tremendous strides because of its robust implementation of the Affordable Care Act, more than one million New Yorkers remain uninsured, and millions of the rest of us find ourselves underinsured because of what we still have to pay out of our own pockets," said Mark Hannay, Director of Metro New York Health Care for All. "New York now needs to and can take the next steps toward true, real universal health care, and the New York Health Act is a very good template to work from. We stand ready to work with our state's leaders to begin that process."
“As a registered nurse, single payer health care makes total sense. I have a front row seat to critically ill patients who are in no condition to advocate for themselves with a healthcare company. They are concerned about their so many details. Worrying about whether or not they can afford life-saving treatments should not be among the concerns. People should have health care, period.” - Jess Robie, RN, New York State Nurses Association
"Every day, older Americans and their families suffer incalculable financial and emotional hardship due to inability to obtain long-term care and support services, including being forced to spend down nearly all of their assets to qualify for Medicaid," said Alex Lawson, Executive Director of Social Security Works. "By making all health care, including long-term care, a right for every New Yorker, this bill would improve millions of lives. Furthermore, it would provide a shining example to our entire nation.”
"A humane & just society is one that provides for the health of all of its people, without exception. New York doesn't need any additional insurance schemes or more studies & attempts to delay. We need fairly & publicly funded, equitably administered, truly comprehensive healthcare - including long term care - for all New Yorkers. We need the NY Health Act!" - Morgan Moore, Co-founder of the Healthcare Equity Action League of New York and Board Member of PNHP NY Metro
“People are eager for universal single-payer system that provides improved care to everyone, a better environment for providers, a level playing field for small business, at less cost. New York - let's join the rest of the developed world!” - Gina Ironside, Rockland Citizens Action Network NYHA Action Group
"The for-profit status-quo has got to go! Millions of working New Yorkers are stuck with shoddy private insurance plans that sacrifice their access to adequate healthcare on the altar of corporate efforts, and that's to say nothing of the millions who lack insurance altogether.” - Christopher Hanna, Board President of the Tompkins County Workers' Center. "But another world is not only possible, but within reach. The NY Health Act will provide publicly-funded healthcare to all people in our "Empire State," consigning the abominations of co-pays, deductibles, premiums, and out-of-pocket expenses to the ash heap of history. We stand ready to further mobilize the Finger Lakes region in support of this historic effort, and we won't stop fighting until we cross the finish-line."
“I have been advocating for the NY Health Act since 2015. In that time I have heard more stories about the disaster our current system is than I care to remember. Each one is worse than the next. They cross all racial and economic lines. People lose their homes and their savings. People have to get sicker and poorer, before they can get on Medicaid and get the help they need. I have heard from Doctors who cannot treat their patients the way they think is best and experienced that myself when my father passed. I have heard from retirees who struggle just to pay the 20% that Medicare does not. The worst is the politicians who want to nibble around the edge with incomplete solutions. Only the NY Health Act actually addresses and solves all of them. It simplifies healthcare access in a way that nothing else does and because of that simplicity it can do more for less. My thanks go out to every elected representative who is trying to bring healthcare to every NY resident. We all know it is the right thing to do.” - Steven Cecchini, Long Island Progressive Action Network