Letter: State should approve New York Health Act
December 9, 2014
Despite the Affordable Care Act’s success at increasing the number of people who have health care coverage – either through private insurance or Medicaid – it has done little to stem the cost of that coverage. Take our area, for example. Last year, the cheapest plan for an individual cost $218. This year, it costs $241. And those cheap plans come with strings attached. They often have high deductibles and co-payments, and a limited network, which means your doctor might not be covered.
But there is a way to reduce costs while making sure the 1.5 million New Yorkers who are uninsured get covered. Currently, 20 percent to 30 percent of health care spending goes to health insurance companies’ overhead and marketing and the administrative costs that doctors and hospitals pay to deal with insurance companies. If we cut out the inefficient middleman, New York consumers could save up to $20 billion a year, while expanding coverage.
A proposal in Albany, the New York Health Act, would replace insurance company coverage, premiums, deductibles, co-pays, limited provider networks and out-of-network charges with comprehensive, universal coverage for every New Yorker with full choices of doctors and other providers. Instead of paying a health insurance premium, families and employers would pay an assessment based on their ability to pay. The vast majority of New Yorkers would pay less than they do now. It would even save local governments money because they would spend less on Medicaid and their employees’ health care. That means our local property taxes could go down, too.
On Dec. 10 one of a series of hearings about this proposal will be held at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.