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."