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Andrea, Troy NY

My name is Andrea. I’m 65 and I live in Troy, NY. I had health insurance through the state until I left in 2000. As a small business owner, I didn’t have insurance for 13 years until the Affordable Care Act. But I still had a high deductible and unaffordable co-pays, and delayed regular care as a result. I wasn’t able to afford a physical, mammogram or pap smear for many years. Now, since I turned 65, I have Medicare. I was just lucky that I didn’t have any serious illnesses before I was eligible for Medicare, or I wouldn’t have been able to afford treatment. We need single-payer for everyone in New York State. Every other developed country has some form of public health insurance – they see it as a right. We should too.

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.

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Erica, Flushing

My name is Erica Lee and I've worked as a mental health counselor in Flushing, NY. I am very frustrated with the current healthcare system. Private insurance companies do not provide adequate coverage with constant delays and strict limits on how much care clients should receive- from the number of office visits to how long each appointment should be. They keep lowering reimbursement rates, forcing my agency to stop taking most private insurances. The clinicians have little say over this process and we're left with telling our clients they need to pay out of pocket. It's despicable. We need NY Health so my clients won’t go without healthcare they need

Pam, Ithaca

My name is Pam Gueldner and I live in Ithaca. I am 47 years old. I have been a small business owner for 20 years, but I cannot afford to provide health insurance for myself or my employees.

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Janna, Buffalo

Hi, my name is Janna and I live in Buffalo.  I went without healthcare for 4 years because I wasn’t able to afford it.  Regular check ups, testing, prescription medicine, dental care, and chiropractic care were all out of reach.  I am female and have a pre-existing condition. Before the ACA I tried to get insurance but it cost $1200 a month, too expensive for my income.  The insurance premium and all the add on costs like deductibles, co-pays, and the out-of-pocket costs were unaffordable. I stayed at a low paying job for 5 years just for the insurance.

My mother also had to avoid medical care and died at just 54 of congestive heart failure.  Paying for her medical bills forced us to have our gas and electricity shut off and we almost lost our house.  I’m currently self-employed and paying full price for health insurance. Premiums keep going up every year.

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Kate, Brooklyn

My name is Kate. I’m 31 years old, and I live in Brooklyn.  For years, I brought symptoms to my primary care physician who dismissed them, I believe because of my gender. At first, I trusted his assessment, and I couldn't afford to see a specialist anyway. When my health continued to decline, I decided I would see a specialist despite the cost—and I was correctly diagnosed as suffering from a chronic illness. Once I was in a position to pay for additional rounds of testing and treatment, I was finally able to grapple with the problem, but over time all of my doctors left my network, and to this day I face soaring expenses because my employer-sponsored insurance doesn't cover out-of-network providers. I support the passage of the New York Health Act because of its focus on better primary care and guaranteed access to the kinds of specialists that make managing chronic illnesses possible.

George Grace, Buffalo

My name is George Grace, I am 66 years old, and I live in Buffalo. When my family lived in Nashville in 2001, we were 'covered' by what I consider to be a criminal company (Trustmark) which had more exclusions than benefits for our-then $7800 /year insurance. We couldn't get coverage for an 'out-of-bounds' trip to the emergency room 500 miles outside the coverage zone.

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Sarah Krull, Southern Tier

My name is Sarah Krull. I am eighteen years old and one of the millions of Americans that have experienced anxiety and dread as a result of our inefficient health care system.

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Michael Kaufman, Southern Tier

My name is Michael Kaufman and I am 63 years old. I live in Delaware County. I went without health insurance for 8 years, and couldn’t pay my ER bills and dental bills. Working as a printer and graphic artist for newspapers paid poorly and offered no health insurance. My landlord took a long time to fix a broken sewer pipe which triggered severe asthma causing me to blackout on the way to the emergency room. I didn't even find out that the allegedly unpaid bill was on my credit report until I applied for a mortgage for my place in rural New York about 20 years later, when I had to hurriedly settle up. During that time period I also suffered with impacted wisdom teeth, which caused pain and moved some of my other teeth out of alignment. It took years until a temporary charity dental clinic was set up and painfully removed all of them.

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Joe Davis, Syracuse

I have been disabled since the year 2000 and am currently enrolled in Medicaid. However, the restrictions and limitations of the program are adversely affecting my quality of life.

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