Hundreds of Single Payer Activists Came to Albany on May 21st to Lobby to Make Healthcare a Right and to Turn in 10,000 Signatures in Support of the Legislation

May 24, 2013

 

Several hundred single payer activists came to Albany today to lobby to make health care a right and to turn in 10,000 signatures in support of the legislation.

Several hundred single payer activists came to Albany today to lobby to make health care a right and to turn in 10,000 signatures in support of the legislation.

Source: Legislative Gazette
10,000 signatures for universal health care
by TANIQUE WILLIAMS
May 21, 2013
New Yorkers from across the state — including hundreds of doctors, nurses, patients, labor unions,community organizations, faith groups, and seniors — delivered 10,000 signatures supporting a single payer health care bill sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, and Sen. Bill Perkins, D-Harlem.

The press conference was coordinated with Healthcare-NOW NYC, Hunger Action Network of New York State, Physicians for a National Health Program (New York Metro chapter), Single Payer New York, and Statewide Senior Action.

“These signatures are a testament to the dedication of New Yorker all across this great state to reach out to members of their communities and help build the  grassroots movement it will take to make healthcare a human right in New York,” said Katie Robbins, an organizer with Healthcare-Now.

The New York Health bill (A.5389-a/S.2078-a) —“an act to amend the public health law and the state finance law”— would expand health coverage to all New Yorkers regardless of age, income, or employment status, and would control costs by implementing a single-payer, universal healthcare system, its supporters say.

The bill has 74 co-sponsors in Assembly and 17 in the Senate.

“The affordable care act has made some important improvements in how we organize and pay for healthcare in this country but it still leaves us and our health care, and our wallets, in the hands of insurance companies—with their premiums, and their administrative costs, and deductibles, and co-pays, and limited network, and denials of payment for the care we need.  We can do better and New York can do better,” said Gottfried, chair of the Assembly Health Committee.

“President Obama during [his] campaign said that no American should have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies, and I agree with that, but I want to know why that is only for golden years. We can get better health care, more affordable health care, more fairly paid for, for every single New Yorker if we enact the New York Health bill to provide universal, publicly sponsored, publicly funded, single-payer health coverage. We want to get this bill to the floor of the Assembly this year for a vote,” he said.

Under the legislation, there would be no premiums, co-payments, or deductibles, and coverage would be publicly funded. Advocates said they would like to see the bill passed in the Assembly, in the Senate, and signed by the governor.

Perkins began his speech with a call and response of “you’re heath is your wealth.”

“We not only want to get [the New York Health bill] passed in the Assembly, we also want to get it passed in the Senate, and most importantly, we want the governor to sign the bill. In fact if we could, we would ask the governor to advocate [and] make sure it gets passed in the Assembly; to advocate [and] make sure it gets passed in the Senate; to be standing there with us so that our wealth, our health, is not compromised,” Perkins said.

New York Hunger Action Network Executive Director Mark Dunlea said health care costs are “one of the three big bills” that send people to emergency food programs.

“When Massachusetts enacted their insurance mandate, many low-income residents found they had less access to health care services. It is immoral that the rich country in the world still refuses to treat health care as a basic human right, even while we spend far more money on health care per capita than countries with universal access,” Dunlea said.

The 10,000 signatures were delivered to the offices of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Centre, Independent Democratic Conference head Sen. Jeff Klein, D- Bronx, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan.

 

From the Albany Lobby Day 5/21/2013

May 23, 2013

Several hundred single payer activists came to Albany today to lobby to make health care a right and to turn in 10,000 signatures in support of the legislation.

Several hundred single payer activists came to Albany today to lobby to make health care a right and to turn in 10,000 signatures in support of the legislation.

Dr. Oliver Fein’s presents “Update on Health Care Reform” in Ithaca, New York

May 22, 2013

Dr. Oliver Fein professor of clinical medicine and clinical public health at Weill Medical College of Cornell University presented an “Update on Health Care Reform” to an enthusiastic audience of over 50 people at the Unitarian Church in Ithaca on May 16th. Dr. Fein discussed various health insurance aspects of Health Care Reform.

He began by discussing some of the positive effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). New York State has already received over three hundred billion dollars from the federal government to implement the ACA Health Insurance Exchange, known as the Health Benefit Exchange in New York State. This fall, individuals and small businesses, will have to make decisions about health insurance offered by the state Health Benefit Exchange. One question raised by Dr. Fein was: what affect will it have on the Exchange if those who are healthy right now opt to absorb the penalty for not enrolling rather than pay the annual premium costs for the Exchange plans?

Another positive effect of the ACA will be that Medicaid eligibility will expand to include those whose income is 133% of the 2014 Federal Poverty Level. But even with this expanded access to health insurance, Dr. Fein noted, that this will still leave 1.675 million New Yorkers without health insurance.

IMG_8990Dr.Fein identified benefits of the single-payer system – namely, all residents of the United States are automatically enrolled in a publicly-funded/privately delivered health insurance plan; the single-payer system would offer comprehensive coverage with maximum choices of doctors, nurse practitioners, hospitals, and operate without co-pays and deductibles; and because the administrative costs would be substantially lower, the money saved could be re-directed to provide coverage for those left uninsured or poorly insured by the ACA.

Dr. Fein admitted that, while the national single-payer system is not something that will happen over-night, the positive steps that have been taken – and continue to be taken – toward it are indefatigable. Grassroots’ movements in Vermont and California are especially persistent and continue to gain support from legislators for the passage of single-payer health care.

Dr. Fein identified specifics of “New York Health”, the proposed legislation that would establish single-payer health coverage in New York State. The legislation will eliminate the financial burden of large deductibles and copayments which serve as a barrier to accessing health care, and also impoverish many New Yorkers. “New York Health” creates a publically funded and privately delivered health insurance system that promotes prevention and care coordination.

Participation becomes affordable based on income, rather than a set of premiums and unknown out of pocket costs throughout the year. While the bill does not cover long term care, an important component of the continuum of care, it does require that long term care coverage be addressed within five years of passage. Dr. Fein concluded that though, the Affordable Care Act brings many changes to our system, there remains much to be done to achieve the goal of quality, affordable single-payer healthcare for all.

The event was Co-sponsored by Statewide Senior Action Council, the Social Justice Committee of First Unitarian Society of Ithaca, and the Ithaca Health Alliance.

“Update on Healthcare Reform” in Conversation with Dr. Oliver Fein, Ithaca, NY

May 7, 2013

oliver_feinUPDATE ON HEALTHCARE REFORM

Speaker: Dr. Oliver Fein-Professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College

Thursday, May 16, 2013 @ 7:30 PM

Unitarian Church (corner of Aurora & Buffalo) Ithaca, New York

He will examine both the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and single payer health plans!  While the ACA brings many changes to our system, there remains much to be done to achieve the goal of quality, affordable healthcare for all.

If you have any questions, or need further information, contact Rebecca Elgie at erelgie@earthlink.net or 607-272-0621.

Co-sponsored by Statewide Senior Action Council and Social Justice Committee of First Unitarian Society of Ithaca.