Universal healthcare Bill up for Discussion in NYS Assembly

December 10, 2014

Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – Imagine going to the doctor’s officefor a check-up and not having a co-pay?A new bill sitting in the New York State Assembly could make that happen.It’s called New York Health and, if passed, it could change whathealthcare looks like for every New Yorker.

Chelsea McGuire says every trip to the doctors office starts the same way.

“I say hello. They say I need your insurance card. We need a copy of it. You owe me 40 dollars because this is your co-pay today,” says Chelsea McGuire, medical student and supporter of the bill.

But McGuire’s trips to the doctor could change if the New York Health Bill is adopted, because here would be one universal health plan for all New Yorkers, replacing private insurance plans with a publicly-funded healthcare system.

Instead of patients and employers paying premiums, deductibles, and co-pays, healthcare services would be funded through a payroll tax.

One doctor tells us, simply put, your employer would end up paying 80 percent of the payroll tax, and you, 20 percent, based on your income. So, those who make more, pay more.

“The bottom 97 percent of New Yorkers will have more money in their pockets because overall cost of healthcare will go way down,” says McGuire.

And we found some support among Central New York doctors.

“The reason we want this is because it will make your care experience better. It’s gonna free me up to focus on your care. And it’s gonna free you up from having to worry what hoops you need to jump through and how you’re gonna pay for what you need to stay well, and get well, if you’re sick,” says Dr. Robert Ostrander, family doctor and supporter of the bill.

The Assembly Health Committee held its first of six public hearings today in Syracuse. Another public hearing will be in Rochester next Monday, December 8 and Buffalo next Wednesday, December 10.

Supporters are hoping these hearings will gain enough momentum and public support that the Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver, will bring the bill to the Assembly floor for a vote.

But we’ll have to wait for the next legislative session to begin in January.

The Senate Health Committee and Assembly Codes Committee are currently reviewing the bill.

A version of this bill has been introduced every year since the 1990s.

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