Strike Debt’s Week of Action

March 14, 2013

March 16 – March 23 Strike Debt’s Week of Action to Declare a 
Healthcare Emergency: It’s a Matter of “Life or Debt” In the U.S., healthcare is a bankrupt system run on debt.

62% of personal bankruptcies are linked to medical bills. 3/4 of people who declare bankruptcy due to medical bills had health insurance when they incurred those bills.

86% of doctors begin their professional lives with medical school debt. This debt limits medical school to the upper classes and forces even socially-minded young doctors to choose lucrative specialties. The restrictive cost of nursing school further reduces the availability and quality of primary care.

Community hospitals deemed “unprofitable” are being closed left and right because they have fallen too deeply into debt.

These debts are literally killing patients, students, providers and communities. They deepen the already entrenched inequalities that divide races, classes, and genders. Our healthcare system doesn’t make us well; it prolongs our illnesses in the name of profit.

In reaction to this system, Strike Debt’s Rolling Jubilee initiative will make a big announcement in March. We have bought and abolished a large amount of medical debt. Though this will provide real relief to thousands of people who need it, it is only crumbs in light of the 70 million who still owe money on medical bills.

We want to use the attention this buy will generate to highlight the profound inhumanity and inequality of our medical payment system and to create a vision of a world where healthcare is truly treated as a right. We demand the cancellation of all medical debts and a radically transformed healthcare system based on everybody’s need for wellness and not the 1%’s desire for wealth.

More information at

Bill for Universal Single Payer Health Care for New York Introduced

March 7, 2013

March 7 Lobby Day and Press Conference: Bill for Universal Single Payer Health Care for New York Introduced

A plan to provide all New Yorkers with comprehensive health care coverage has been introduced in the State Legislature. “New York Health,” a universal health care bill, replaces insurance company coverage, premiums, co-pays, and limited choices of providers. Instead, it would provide publicly -sponsored coverage with a benefit package more comprehensive than most commercial health plans, with full choices of doctors and other providers. The bill, A.5389/S.2078, was introduced by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and Senator Bill Perkins and is co-sponsored by 83 other legislators.

Under “New York Health” no one would have to give up their preferred doctors or other providers. Instead of individuals and employers paying high premiums, deductibles and co-pays, the coverage would be funded through a graduated tax on income, based on ability to pay. New Yorkers would be covered for all medically necessary services including primary, preventive, and specialist care; hospital; mental health; reproductive health; dental; vision; prescription drug; and medical supply costs.

“Health care should be a right, not a privilege. Coverage should be driven by the needs of patients, not insurance companies and stockholders,” according to Assembly Member Gottfried  “You and your doctor work to keep you healthy. New York Health will pay the bill.”

Healthcare should be about health, not profit,” Senator Perkins stated. “ Affordable health care demands broad bipartisan support. I’m proud to sponsor this important bill and look forward to working with my colleagues and the governor to see it become law,” Senator Perkins added.

For most people, New York Health will represent a net income savings compared to the current, regressive system of insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays. 

Single payer models have dramatically lower administrative costs than private insurance.

According to Lisa Blodgett, RN, New York State Nurses Association, “New York healthcare costs are fifth-highest in the country, but our outcomes are near the bottom. We spend too much money on administrative functions and care for catastrophic conditions, much of which could be treated earlier with routine disease management.”

Laurie Wen, Executive Director of PNHP-Metro, added that 

“Right now, five New Yorkers die every day due to lack of health care, and many go bankrupt from medical bills. That is unacceptable and inhumane. A universal, publicly financed health care system would save lives AND money.

Mark Dunlea, Executive Director of the Hunger Action Network and Single Payer NY co-founder added that “The new Federal health insurance mandate (ACA) will still leave many New Yorkers without access to affordable, quality care. We need a state single payer health care bill to make sure everyone is covered.” (Adapted from a report published by the New York State Nurses Association.)