While the Supreme Court is pondering the constitutionality of the health insurance mandate, universal health care activists will be at the State Capitol on Tuesday May 8 urging New York to join Vermont in making health care a right.
The lobby day will begin with a briefing at 9:30 AM at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 85 Chestnut St. Albany.
Please let us know if you are attending. We are organizing meetings with Senate Democrats who do not presently sponsor the bill as well as members of the Assembly Health Committee.We suggest that you also organize meetings with your own state Assemblymembers and Senators. Please let us know the details if you do so so we can add it to our master list for the day. At this point we recommend that meetings be organized from 1 to 4 to allow time earlier in the day for a briefing and possible media event.
You can send an email to email@example.com if you plan to attend. Please let us know your address and contact info, your state legislators if you know them, and whether you plan to organize your own meetings with your state legislators.
Assembly Richard Gottfried has updated his longstanding single payer bill (A7860 / S5425), with the support of Senator Thomas Duane and nearly 70 other lawmakers. The bill would create a universal single payer health plan – New York Heath – to provide comprehensive health coverage for all New Yorkers. Every New York resident would be eligible to enroll, regardless of age, income, wealth, employment, or other status. There would be no premium, deductibles, or co-pays. Coverage would be publicly funded.
The benefits will include comprehensive outpatient and inpatient medical care, primary and preventive care, prescription drugs, laboratory tests, rehabilitative, dental, vision, hearing, etc. – all benefits required by current state insurance law or provided by the state public employee package, Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus, Medicare, or Medicaid, and others added by the plan.
Everyone would choose a primary care practitioner or other provider to provide care coordination – helping to get the care and follow-up the patient needs, referrals, and navigating the system. But there would be no “gatekeeper” obstacles to care. A broadly representative Board of Trustees will advise the Commissioner of Health.
Long- term-care coverage is not included at the start, but the bill requires that the Board develop a plan for it within five years of passage.
Health care would no longer be paid for by insurance companies charging a regressive “tax” – premiums, deductibles and co-pays – imposed regardless of ability to pay. Instead, New York Health would be paid for by assessments based on ability to pay, through a progressively-graduated payroll tax (paid 80% by employers and 20% by employees, and 100% by self-employed) and a surcharge on other taxable income.
Federal funds now received for Medicare, Medicaid, Family Health and Child Health Plus would be combined with the state revenue in a New York Health Trust Fund. The “local share” of Medicaid funding – a major burden on local property taxes – would be ended.