Statement from the Campaign for New York Health on Governor Hochul’s State of the State Address to a Joint Session of the State Legislature:
We applaud Governor Hochul’s recognition of the ways in which New York’s health system has failed our state’s communities of color, and her commitment to achieving greater health equity. While recognition of the problem is an important step towards addressing it, the Governor’s State of the State address puts forth modest approaches when deep systemic change is needed to create the strongest possible system that guarantees high-quality, equitable care for all, regardless of race, gender, employment, or citizenship status.
On average, 50% of New Yorkers with health insurance struggle to access healthcare due to cost and insurer-imposed barriers. Only focusing on expanding insurance will not remove the additional barriers also facing many New York Yorkers. It is long past time to put an end to the vast health disparities in our state. To that end, we urge Governor Hochul and Commissioner Bassett's new Department of Health "racial equity working group" to develop a plan for our state to transition to a universal healthcare system.
The New York Health Act will accomplish many of the priorities identified by Governor Hochul in her State of the State address, including guaranteed access to prenatal and postnatal care to improve maternal health outcomes, mental healthcare and behavioral healthcare coverage to address trauma and economic stress of the pandemic, strengthening our safety net institutions, and supporting and expanding the healthcare workforce.
However, without guaranteed universal healthcare, New Yorkers will continue to suffer the effects of a system designed to prioritize private profits over public health and individuals’ well-being. The pandemic has shown just how untenable this situation is, and the longer we go without making significant changes means the longer New York’s leaders are culpable for major suffering, impoverishment and death of New Yorkers.
As steps toward universal health care, Governor Hochul can create a truly New Era and be a leader for health and racial equity by also:
- ending the arbitrary Medicaid annual growth cap so we can fully and adequately fund this essential public health program
- Providing health coverage to all immigrant residents of our State so that they can access needed services.
- Ensuring fair pay for homecare workers, most of whom are women of color, in order to grow the homecare workforce and meet outstanding patient need.
- curbing patient medical debt by ending unfair billing practices that disproportionately adversely affect low-income patients and patients of color and their families.
We call on Governor Hochul to include the above measures in her upcoming Executive Budget proposals, and for her to support movement forward on the New York Health Act when it is taken up later in this year’s legislative session.
The Campaign for New York Health is a 501c4 statewide coalition dedicated to enacting a universal single-payer healthcare in New York State. CNYH brings together more than 300 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
CNYH coalition members include New York State Nurses Association, Physicians for a National Health Program, New York Statewide Senior Action Council, Metro Justice, Chinese-American Planning Council, Citizen Action of New York, Community Service Society of New York, Democratic Socialists of America (NYC), For the Many, New York Labor-Religion Coalition, Make the Road New York, Metro New York Health Care for All, New York Progressive Action Network, Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition, and Working Families Party.