Feb. 7th – Mini-Lobby Day – Albany, NY

January 31, 2012

Single Payer New York is holding a mini-lobby day next Tuesday, Feb. 7th in Albany to meet with key legislative leaders to build support for a state single payer bill. Contact dunleamark@aol.com if you would like to participate. A main focus is to line up more Senate sponsors.

Our major statewide lobby day will take place in Albany on May 1. We would like to get 50 plus people to participate.

Assemblymember Gottfried has drafted an update to his single payer bill. A summary is below and attached.

Empire State Health
Draft Legislation to be introduced by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried

This is a single payer bill that will create a state-run public plan, Empire State Health, in the Department of Health to provide universal comprehensive coverage for all New Yorkers. (Long-term coverage is not included, but a plan for it is to be developed within five years of passage.)

A broadly representative Board of Trustees will advise the Commissioner of Health.

Federal Funding and Waivers

Under the bill, New York would seek federal waivers that will allow ESH to encompass Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, PPACA, and any other federally-funded program.

Private Insurance

Private insurance that duplicates benefits offered under ESH cannot be offered to NYS residents.

Eligibility, Benefits and Cost-Sharing

Every New York resident is eligible to enroll, with no premium or other charge.

The benefits will be those provided by Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus, Medicare, and, for those eligible for Medicaid, by Medicaid (except long-term care).

There is no cost-sharing (deductible, co-pay, co-insurance) under the program. Members are required to enroll with, and use the services of, a care manager, but services are not denied if they have not yet had the opportunity to choose one.

Payment to Providers

Initially, payment to providers will be on a fee-for-service basis, except for care management, but other payment methodologies can be set up by the Commissioner. Fees would be negotiated with providers’ representatives.


The bill does not include funding, but provides that the Governor will propose a funding plan composed of a graduated payroll tax, paid 80% by employers and 20% by employees, and a non-payroll assessment on unearned income (dividends, interest, capital gains). These funds, and Federal funds received under various waivers, will be placed in an Empire State Health Trust Fund.

*Summary prepared by Dr. Len Rodberg, Research Director, PNHP-NY Metro


One Response to “Feb. 7th – Mini-Lobby Day – Albany, NY”

  1. Richard W. Griswold on March 20th, 2012 4:09 am

    The plan on its face looks promising. The devil is in the details as always. My major concern is the funding mechanism. There must be a way for the Federal government to compensate New York for its own operations as well as taking advantage of an overwhelming cost savings to both businesses and consumers.

    To lay the majority of the payroll tax on employers is likely to create a lot of unintended enemies, particularly from small business owners who are incapable of funding such an initiative. The remaining companies along with the powerful insurance company complex will surely lobby whatever bill is presented in an effort to maintain their share of the trough. There must be a methodology to provide funding that is expense neutral in the long-term and oriented toward consumers rather than the existing health care structure. Furthermore, nearly every tax, fee, or toll levied on New Yorkers used as a mechanism for funding legislation inevitably remains in place because the state government decides that they really enjoys the revenue and can dream up other ways of spending it (e.g. the NYS Thruway).

    Our ability to overcome these obstacles is made easier by stressing the colossal savings to both individuals and businesses operating in New York. The bill HR676 (2006) Conyers/Kucinich US National Health Insurance Act was supported by both the state assembly and the state senate. Further reforms at the Federal level are unlikely given the gridlock in Washington. We are therefore, like Vermont, compelled to execute reforms at the state and/or local levels.

    To accept the gains already achieved without moving forward to true health security for all is to deny our citizenry of their rights and freedoms to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We must never allow these constraints to assuage our way of life.