Sara Palmer, Buffalo

As a healthcare consumer, I have been uninsured, and my family underinsured. We’ve gone years without dental or proper vision coverage. I didn't have insurance during short periods during my 3 pregnancies and the medical debt still follows me today.

For several years, I worked in healthcare as a nursing assistant and patient care assistant at hospitals in both New York State and Virginia. Many whom I cared for worried about their healthcare costs, missing hours at work, how they would afford their length of stay, medications or medical equipment, all while trying to fight illnesses, disease, or recovering from surgery. I have cared for patients who were discharged before fully recovered because an insurance company would not cover another day, medication, procedure, or even rehabilitation. I have seen patients leave the hospital against medical advice, unable to afford healthcare costs due to being uninsured or underinsured, only to find out they are still responsible for the bill in full, forfeiting any insurance coverage due to their type of discharge from the hospital.

 

Patients are utilizing the emergency room because they are without a primary care physician, without health insurance, or the urgent care facility doesn’t accept their form of insurance. This increases wait times in the emergency department, as well as increase the pressure and stress on the staff providing care. This scenario also increases healthcare costs because the hospital usually ends up “eating the bill.”

 

I support the New York Health Act because I believe healthcare is a human right as defined in our U.S. Constitution, “to promote the General Welfare” of our people.  I support the New York Health Act because people should not have the worries or unnecessary stress about their ability to afford a Dr. visit, or gamble between paying for a prescription vs. their utility bills, or even rent. I support the New York Health Act, because people should not be denied necessary diagnostic testing, ordered by their attending physician aiding in accurate diagnoses, because an insurance company deems these tests “elective”, because it doesn’t fit in their budget. I support the New York Health Act, because people shouldn’t be pegged down and suffer from medical debt for years to come. And lastly, I support the New York Health Act because our healthcare system needs to focus on more affordable, quality, compassionate care vs. our current cost effective, quality control care that we’ve had for far too long in our state and our country.