Helen, Geneva

My name is Helen and I am 49 years old. I live in Geneva. I have no health insurance and right now, I am ready to leave my job because I can’t afford health insurance if I work. I work 70 hours a week, but if I didn’t work so much, I would be eligible for Medicaid. I have chest pain and pain in my side, but nobody can figure out what’s wrong, and I have no time or money to go to a specialist. I go to a clinic in Rochester because it’s too expensive here. I am still paying the bill from a $400 visit for a physical and gynecologist. I support the New York Health Act because nobody should have to delay care they need just because of the cost, or quit their job in order to get care.

Krisy, Delaware County

My name is Krisy, I am in my 30s, and I live in Delhi, NY. Three years ago, my husband was driving a dump truck while finishing school, and I was a stay-at-home mom with our first son. We were overjoyed to discover that I was pregnant again, and then distraught to learn that the insurance we had been paying for through my husband’s job did not cover anything whatsoever related to prenatal or maternity care. We were making about $30,000 per year - just barely too much to qualify for Medicaid, but still living paycheck to paycheck. We couldn’t possibly have afforded even a normal labor and delivery, let alone the additional medical help I needed during the difficult pregnancy.

Our saving grace was the ACA - Obamacare. We were able to get insurance through the New York State exchange and safely have our second son. Without the ACA, I don’t know what would have happened to us. Bankruptcy would have been a best-case scenario. Instead, my husband was able to finish school, get a better job with real insurance, and we are now thrilled to be able to help pay taxes to support others in need.

But now, prices on the exchanges keep rising, and fewer people can afford the route we took. I strongly support the New York Health Act to make sure everyone has affordable healthcare and no one falls through the cracks.

June, Chenango County

My name is June Provost, I am a 56-year-old software contractor, and I live in Chenango County. I lost my health insurance because of chronic illness, unemployment, and divorce (all at the same time!). The treatments and tests I need are expensive and when I was unemployed I had an almost unmanageable amount of medical bills. We need to get out of the for-profit insurance business and have Medicare for everyone.

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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