Sarah Outterson-Murphy

  • ARTICLE: Can NY Make The Leap To Universal, Government-Run Healthcare? Caroline Lewis, Gothamist

    Perhaps more than any other single piece of legislation, the stakes here are high. For better or worse, the New York Health Act would have a huge impact on the economy and would disrupt the state’s current health system, which, despite its flaws, insures about 95 percent of New Yorkers. About a third of New Yorkers are currently enrolled in free or low-cost coverage through the state’s $70 billion taxpayer-funded Medicaid program or Child Health Plus, while another 700,000 or so are enrolled in the Essential Plan, an insurance option created under the Affordable Care Act for low-income residents who don’t qualify for Medicaid.

    “We would want to work as hard as possible to make this a high-quality public program so it has a positive impact on the national debate,” said Katie Robbins, director of the Campaign for New York Health. “The risk of not [passing the bill] is high as well. People are rationing care because they can’t afford it. People are being tied to jobs and marriages they don’t want and health outcomes are shameful."

    Read the full article at the Gothamist here.


  • LETTER: Molinaro wrong on NY Health Act, Dr. Sunny Aslam, Auburn Citizen

    "Molinaro pledges to veto universal health care bill if elected NY governor" (The Citizen, 7/26/2018) shows we need a candidate for governor who has a plan to provide health for all who live in New York state. The article does not mention that traditional Medicare's model of extremely low admin costs would save taxpayers an estimated $45 billion in the first year alone. The threat of tax increases for business and the addition of $90 billion (!) to the state budget are hung over the reader. The final boogeyman is when Molinaro mentions a state takeover of health care.

    Sadly, Molinaro offers no solutions of his own for the crippling and increasing costs of health care in New York.

    If the New York Health Act were to pass, we would find few of the above scare tactics are true. Instead we would find free choice of physicians (free market choice not government takeover) in New York state; tremendous administrative cost savings; businesses no longer spending $2 billion per year finding health plans and overall health care payroll costs lowered. Life saving pharmaceutical prices would be negotiated in similar fashion as done by the Veterans Affairs (VA) who pays 40 percent less than the general public. You can read the study yourself at www.infoshare.org/main/Economic_Analysis_New_York_Health_Act_-_GFriedman_-_April_2015.pdf.

    Most New Yorkers (estimated 98 percent) and businesses would pay less and often far less than the $25,000 average costs of a family health insurance plan.

    I work as an addiction psychiatrist. When my patients don't come to treatment or get medications because of loss of coverage, burdensome paperwork requirements by insurance companies or outrageous drug costs, they can stop breathing. It makes you furious when politicians like Molinaro refuse humane approaches like the New York Health Act. I've found the governor's lack of support of universal healthcare upsetting; maybe he'll stand up now and champion the New York Health Act.

    I'm thrilled to be supporting a slate of candidates who actually support this improved, expanded Medicare for all approach: Cynthia Nixon for governor, Dana Balter for congress, Rachel May and John Mannion for state Senate.

    I hope this fall you will support candidates who are serious about universal healthcare and lowering health costs for consumers and businesses.

    Read the original letter here.


  • Cuomo, foes debate NY health bill, Oneonta Daily Star

    Nixon, a longtime activist and actress, came out strongly in favor of single-payer health care legislation.

    “Health care should be a human right, not a privilege for those who can afford it,” Nixon said in a campaign video. She added that the New York Health Act that has been approved in the Assembly would cover all New Yorkers.

    With lawmakers set to be on recess through the rest of the year, it is unlikely that Cuomo will have to deal with the single payer legislation in 2018. In comments last September that gave himself wiggle room on the issue, Cuomo said it would be preferable to have the health care debate settled at the national level.

    “If they were to pass it and it was not incongruous with what the federal government would do to us, I think it's a very exciting possibility," he said in a radio interview then.

    Read the full article at the Daily Star here.


  • LETTER: NYHA would expand demand for treatment, and that's a good thing, Paul Cooper, Daily Freeman

    On Aug. 1, we learned from the highly regarded Rand Corporation that the New York Health Act would extend to all New York residents complete access to health care with such significant savings that New York can afford it.

    But just a couple of days prior, the Mercatus Center, funded by the conservative Koch brothers, found the reverse for the entire country, despite what it said would be trillions of dollars saved. Why? Because it “would dramatically expand the demand for health care services.”

    Well, yes, more people would get health care — that’s the general idea. They would take all their prescribed medications, instead of cutting back on them. They would see their doctors whenever a symptom became worrisome, instead of waiting until it was too late. As a result, thousands would live, and not die. And, in the process, the nation as a whole would save money, and health care would cease being the economic albatross around all our necks that it now is. Innovation would flourish, because people would no longer be afraid to leave their current jobs for fear of losing their health care coverage; they would feel free to go to new jobs that might better foster their new ideas.

    Of course, the super rich might have to wait a trifle before they purchased their new yachts. My condolences to them.

    Read the letter at the Daily Freeman here.


  • LETTER: Big push for NY Health Act, Helen Krim, Riverdale Press

    Plans are afoot in Washington to further weaken the Affordable Care Act or eliminate it entirely. The recent appointment of a new Supreme Court justice and recent moves by the Department of Justice could bring these plans to fruition, thus throwing millions of Americans off their health insurance plans.

    In New York, passing the New York Health Act is the obvious and proactive response to this potential crisis. Years of rigorous review and solid econometric studies have shows that New York State’s 23 million people would save an estimated $70 billion in the first year of operation with the simple elimination of private insurance. Even after the deduction of transition expenses, such as training displaced workers and providing them extended unemployment benefits, the New York Health Act would save $45 million for patient care.

    With its huge base, the state can negotiate volume discounts for pharmaceutical products and medical devices. Fraud detection, simplified with the elimination of multiple payers, would result in further savings. Administrative costs would be similar to those of Medicare at 2 percent of premiums collected, as opposed to up to 17 percent for commercial health insurers.

    The argument that providing health care to all residents of New York State is too expensive is absurd. It would cost less than we pay now, and provide insurance for the 2 million New Yorkers who currently have no health insurance, or who still can’t see a doctor due to costs.

    Read the full letter here.


  • LETTER: Health Care for All, Richard Warren, The Chief-Leader

    Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed codifying Obamacare into New York State law. This is to stop health premiums from rising 24 percent as a result of President Donald Trump’s tax bill eliminating the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.

    Cuomo’s proposal is benevolent. But enacting the New York Health Act would be better. It has passed the Assembly four years in a row.

    It has 31 sponsors in the Senate, including Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Jeff Klein.

    This bill would bring what has been stalled nationwide, the type of complete health coverage for all that every advanced nation but us has, to New York State.

    Candidate Trump claimed he would replace Obamacare with something much better. So far he has proposed nothing. His sympathy lies with only profit-minded business people. It is unlikely Trump is going to cut insurance companies out of the medical field and replace Obamacare with a government-funded or expanded (Medicare-for-all) program that covers everybody. For the time being, the New York Health Act is our best hope.

    On the state level, we’ve been unsuccessful in getting the Assembly to approve expanding 9/11-related health coverage to include civilian employees. On the Federal level, it was like pulling teeth to get the odious Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, to bring extension of the Zadroga Act to a vote and approval.

    But this would not even be an issue in Europe, Canada and the much-maligned-by-our-government Cuba. Because in those countries, if you have a life-threatening illness, it gets treated. You don’t have to worry about cost or prove you were the victim of a terrorist attack.

    Read the original letter at the Chief-Leader here.


  • LETTER: Medical debt forgiveness relief available, Carolyn Kenyon and Judy Jones, Finger Lakes Times

    Are you or someone you know having difficulty paying your medical bills? Well, you are not alone. Forty-three million (one in five) Americans have delinquent medical debt on their credit reports.

    Medical debt contributes to greater than 60% of bankruptcies in America. Did you know that Americans live in the only industrial nation on earth that does not provide health care for its citizens? Even when we have health insurance, a single accident or unexpected illness can threaten our financial security.

    With this in mind, Finger Lakes for the New York Health Act (FL4NYHealth), a Chapter of the New York Health Campaign, has made a commitment to raise $12,500 by Aug. 19 which will forgive $1 million of medical debt belonging to residents of the Finger Lakes Region and Western New York. This is made possible because RIP buys debt bundled for pennies on the dollar.

    Read the full article at the Finger Lakes Times here


  • LETTER: It is time for change in the 51st Senate District, Carla Nordstrom, Oneonta Daily Star

    As someone who lives in the 51st Senate District, I’d like to respond to Jermaine Bagnall-Graham’s letter about Sen. Jim Seward. I’ve been to Albany three times in the last year and a half to lobby for the New York Health Act and for voting reform. Seward was unavailable for these meetings, so his staff conducted them. For both the New York Health Act and voting reform they told me that these programs were too expensive and would make taxes go up.

    Mr. Bagnall-Graham may be right when he says, “Sen. Seward has kept money in our district and helped good causes.” The problem is that Sen. Seward is not committed to doing things for the people of his district. He is not open to providing for the health needs of his constituents because of the expense. New York has one of the most outdated election systems in the country and yet he does not want to fix it because of the expense. Sen. Seward is not the only senator who gives money to public schools or libraries, but he does show a lack of concern for the lives and voices of the people who live in his district.

    One difference between his policies and those of Joyce St. George is she supports the New York Health Act which will bring health care to every New Yorker and, in contrast to Sen. Seward’s position, will bring jobs to New York State.

    Read the full letter at the Oneonta Daily Star here.


  • LETTER: State health act offers total coverage for all, Elissa Krauss, Albany Times-Union

    Yes, NYHA would end private health insurance as we know it in New York state.

    But NYHA would increase choice for all New Yorkers.

    Instead of being limited by private health insurance company networks, providers unwilling to care for public health insurance recipients and deductibles so high as to render insurance meaningless, all New Yorkers will have equal access to all reasonable health care services with no deductibles or co-pays.

    Read the full letter at the Albany Times-Union here!


  • LETTER: Elect St. George for state Senate, Earl Callahan

    Just got my invitation to state Sen. Jim Seward's retirement party and I can't wait to go! It's scheduled for Election Day, Nov. 6, as Joyce St. George of Delaware County becomes our voice in Albany: standing up to institutional corruption in New York state government and standing up for single-payer health instance.

    Single-payer health insurance — model for the world — is a centerpiece of this small business owner's campaign. Not only would it sharply cut costs by eliminating the insurance-company paper shuffle, it would eliminate the onerous county share of Medicaid, reducing county taxes in Cayuga, Otsego, Chenango, Delaware, Cortland, Ulster, Herkimer and Schoharie counties by more than 20 percent.

    Affordable health care and a sharp cut in property taxes if we elect St. George, a corruption investigator. Imagine how much we'd save if we got rid of corruption?

    Read the full letter at the Auburn Citizen here!


  • 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.


  • LETTER: Passing the NYHA will benefit all citizens, Julie Woodward & Celeste Theis, Poughkeepsie

    Imagine not being able to afford the insulin that keeps you alive, or a high deductible keeps you from using your insurance at all, or you’re staying in an abusive relationship or miserable job just to keep your coverage, or nursing home costs wipe out your family’s savings.

    These are some of the stories we heard in Albany on June 5 from a diverse group of citizens visiting state senators Terrence Murphy and Sue Serino to urge them to support the NY Health Act (S4840/A4738). This legislation proposes a single-payer system funded by broad-based revenue and ability to pay. Neither senator seems to be in favor of it, or even talk about it openly with constituents.

    Read the rest of the letter at the Poughkeepsie Journal here.


  • Letter: Health insurance needs an overhaul, Dr. Sunny Aslam, Auburn Citizen

    The Trump administration will no longer oppose discrimination by health insurance companies against those with pre-existing medical conditions, which is particularly cruel and deadly. Your online article points out 133 million Americans ability to buy or afford health insurance will be at risk if they are successful (6/8/18, "Trump's DOJ labels the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, placing healthcare for 133 million at risk"). The president seems intent on harming the population and moving us backward, because he abhors his predecessor, or is intent on increasing health insurance company profits that are soaring anyway. What makes even less sense, is this hands his political opponents a potentially thunderous win before important fall elections.

     

    Health insurance premiums could increase by an average of 24 percent next year if approved by state regulators. Insurance companies rightfully blame President Trump’s repeal of the individual mandate in his recent tax cut resulting in millions less covered by insurance, most of whom are younger and healthier. It’s more expensive to take care of an older, sicker population for insurance companies. In order to accommodate their profits, large bureaucracy and huge executive salaries, insurance companies raise premiums.


  • ARTICLE: Town of Saugerties urges state lawmakers to pass New York Health Act, Daily Freeman

    Several town residents speaking at a recent board meeting said the state action would reduce costs for Medicare patients.

    “If you’re on traditional Medicare, you spend hundreds of dollars a month on Part B Medigap insurance and Part D pharmaceutical,” Janet Asiain said. “If you’re on the Advantage plan, you have co-pays, deductibles and all kinds of out-of-pocket expenses, which really mount up.”

    Tamara Schuppin said traditional health insurance plans have deductibles that can drain bank accounts before benefits kick in.

    “It would affect me in a big way if I had health care that actually covered my needs,” she said. “I currently have a plan with a $10,500 deductible, and I pay several hundred dollars for that every month. It’s not health care. It’s in case I have a catastrophe to keep ... from having our savings wiped out.”

    David Minch said the state action would help improve New York’s business climate.

    “It would be a magnet for New York state to have people coming back in, as businesses could be freed up of the health care [insurance] that they have to supply,” he said.

    Read the full article here.


  • LETTER: Americans could learn from Canadian health care, Richard Clements, The Buffalo News

    "Sunday’s front page story, “New tariffs spark fears among local business owners,” included thoughtful, rational comments for and against Trumps’s stiff tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, but one quote from Craig Speers of the AFL-CIO stands out as candidate for bone-headed comment of the year! He called out “predatory trade practices” by Canada and European Union that supposedly “destroyed large parts of the American steel and aluminum manufacturing industries.”

    As an example he points to Canada’s national health care system as unfair since “… the Canadian government frees its metals industries from a heavy cost burden that their American competitors have to bear.”

    What?

    Canada is unfair because it provides universal healthcare to a healthier population, without potential personal bankruptcy due to medical expenses, at a fraction of our costs?

    Would you propose that Canadians repeal a domestic program that has functioned with overwhelming public support for 50 years?

    ADVERTISEMENT

    Do you really believe they should accept the dysfunctional mess of our health care “system”?

    Read the full letter at the Buffalo News here.


  • OP-ED: Universal health care in NYS would save money and lives, Madeline Zevon, Journal News

    How would it be possible to have more comprehensive health care coverage, including every New Yorker, and save $45 billion a year? It might sound impossible, but that is just what the New York Health Act, currently before the state Legislature, would do. Ninety-eight percent of New Yorkers would save an average of $2,200 a year. In the last legislative session, the bill passed 94-46 in the Assembly and had 31 co-sponsors in the state Senate, just one senator away from a majority.  

    With the passage of the New York Health Act, all residents of New York would have comprehensive coverage including primary, preventive, specialists, hospital, mental health, substance abuse treatment, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drugs, and medical supplies. The coverage would be more comprehensive than commercial health plans. There would be no co-pays, deductibles or premiums.

    Read the full op-ed at the Journal News here.


  • LETTER: New York needs health act for comprehensive care, Peter Van Aken, Poughkeepsie Journal

    In spite of recent presidential and secretary of health and human services speeches about plans to bring about a lowering of prescription drug costs, the stranglehold of unreasonable medical fees, by the insurance companies, still continues — and makes essential medical care a problem for the vast majority of New Yorkers.

    We need the New York Health Act, a bill in the New York State Legislature Senate, (S4840A) to be passed and enacted.

    Right now, the Insurance companies are in charge of our personal health care- giving us high premiums, high deductibles, and co-pays. The New York Health Act promises universal comprehensive health care for all, and covers treatment by primary doctors, specialists, hospitalization, mental health, dental, vision, prescription drugs, lab tests and medical supplies — this legislation would create coverage that would be even more comprehensive than commercial insurance health plans- and it is calculated that it would save 45 billion dollars a year — $2,200 for each New Yorker.

    Read the rest of the letter here.


  • SERIES: Healthcare in America #1, Lauren Grace, This is the Bronx

    At age 29, with a blood clot at the base of my brain, I was hospitalized for three days in 2015. I had to be constantly monitored for strokes or seizures so, do to a lack of available hospital beds, this meant I was in the ICU for three straight days. 

    I initially went to the ER with what I thought was an exceptionally awful, multi-day migraine. When the ER doctor ran into my curtained off area to ask if I had hit my head (I hadn’t) because the CT Scan demonstrated bleeding, I was terrified. I had to be transported by ambulance to a larger hospital where an MRI could be done on Saturday afternoon. Nothing like this had ever happened to me or my husband before, so neither of us – in all the panic – thought to call my insurance company to obtain pre-authorization for all of the medical services I would need. We didn’t know how much would be needed until it was happening!

    Since we did not call, and since I had a Blue Cross Blue Shield high-deductible plan, many additional costs were passed on to me, and I owed far more than my already high deductible of $6,000. After leaving the hospital, I had to continue to take expensive medications to help break down the clot. Though I was directed to start this treatment the day I was discharged, the hospital had not yet submitted its bills to BCBS; without these, as far as the insurance company was concerned, I had not yet met my deductible. I was left with no choice about paying hundreds of out-of-pocket dollars for my medications, on top of my hospital bills.

    Read the full story at This is the Bronx here.


  • LETTER: Get New York Health Act passed, Richard Spencer, Auburn Citizen

    I noticed Andrew Dennison, in his recent letter to the editor, does not cite Canadians losing their home or declaring bankruptcies because of the high cost of medical treatment. Instead, he repeats the often-anecdotal stories of long waiting times often forcing Canadians to come to the states for medical treatments. Actually, most Canadians are tourists encountering medical problems. Mr. Dennison argues against single payer because the Canadian program does not cover prescriptions, dental care and eye care. Apparently, he is ignorant that the New York Health Act covers these items and much more.

    Read the rest of the letter at the Auburn Citizen here.


  • LETTER: Health coverage can be improved, Judith Esterquest, Auburn Citizen

    Waiting lists? If single-payer caused wait times, our Medicare recipients would wait. Fact: They don’t. Neither will NY Health. About Canadians coming to the US? Fact: Peer-reviewed research concludes that very few Canadians come to the US for care on their own nickel — unlike the 750K Americans who seek care outside the US every year.

    But taxes, taxes! The typical Cayuga family (income under $60K/year) will pay $670 per year in NY Health payroll taxes; their employer(s) will pay $2,680. This $670 eliminates ALL of what you pay now for your family: no premiums, co-pays, deductibles, out-of-network charges, and no payments for prescriptions, hearing aids, dentistry, etc. NY Health eliminates all risk of medical bankruptcy and financial obstacles to getting the care you need — 98 percent of New Yorkers will pay less than they pay now.

    Read the full letter at the Auburn Citizen here.