Advances on single-payer health care measures

A bill that would pave the way for a single-payer health care system in New York City cleared the Assembly Health Committee on Monday as supporters argue the measure is needed in the wake of the pandemic of COVID-19, revealing deep flaws in the current system.

Opponents, however, continued to argue on Monday that the bill would be ruinous to state finances as well as health care jobs.

The measure has long been sought by the chairman of the Assembly’s health committee, Richard Gottfried, Albany’s longest-serving Democrat and lawmaker.

Advocates for the measure, including New York’s health campaign co-directors Ursula Rozum and YuLing Koh Hsu, have highlighted the devastation of the pandemic – both to individual household finances, as well as to health. itself – as a key factor for the passage of the bill this year.

“This pandemic is exacerbating the weaknesses and inequalities of the current healthcare system and we urgently need a system that ensures care for everyone – regardless of race, age, immigration or location. employment status, ”they said in a joint statement. “New Yorkers will be rallying in large numbers to tell the Assembly and the Senate to pass this legislation before the end of the session and to tell Governor Cuomo to enact it.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said in the past that a single-payer bill is best left with the federal government, and he never had the measure put on his desk. Democrats hold qualified majorities in both houses of the Legislature.

The business-backed coalition Realities of Single Payer warned in a statement Monday against the bill, saying it would hurt health care coverage in the state. The coalition also highlighted newly approved provisions to expand coverage, such as eliminating Essential plan premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, while adding coverage for postpartum women.

“New York should continue to build on the current system with measures like these instead of passing the NYHA, which would add $ 250 billion in new taxes; the largest tax increase of any state in the country’s history, ”the group said in a statement. declaration. “It would eliminate private health insurance coverage, cut more than 150,000 jobs and force everyone to join a single state-run health plan. In addition, it would limit the access and quality of health care. underfunding hospitals and providers. Based on the experience of the pandemic, don’t we really want the state health department to manage our entire health system? “

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