Single-Payer Support (Albany Hearing)

January 24, 2015

http://metroland.net/2015/01/22/single-payer-support/

Doctors, nurses, labor, legislators and patients speak out in favor of a universal health-care system in New York State

by Ali Hibbs on January 22, 2015

Health-care professionals and patients rallied at the Legislative Office Building last week in support of legislation to implement a universal health-care system in New York State. Decrying the current system as too costly and exclusionary, supporters of the NY Health Act insisted that it would save the state billions of dollars and make health care accessible and affordable for all New York citizens by taking insurance providers out of the equation altogether.

Albany was the last stop in a series of six hearings that took place across the state where doctors, patients, nurses and other stakeholders voiced support and gave testimonials endorsing the bill.

Under the proposed legislation, people would pay for services based on financial ability, and additional costs would be covered by taxpayers. According to advocates, this system would still save New Yorkers and their employers money because the added taxes would amount to significantly less than they are currently paying for health care services under the current system.

Admitting that Obamacare has improved coverage for some New Yorkers, supporters say that expanded coverage is not enough—that coverage should be affordable as well. “While we have made great strides in securing health care coverage for countless New Yorkers with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” said State Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx), “Thousands of individuals either still lack health insurance or face substantial financial hardship to receive the medical treatment they need.”

“We deserve to be able to go to the doctor when we need to,” said Assemblymember Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), sponsor of the legislation. “Without worrying about if we can afford it. We deserve not to worry when we get a medical bill or an insurance statement we can’t figure out. We deserve health coverage for all of us, at a price based on our ability to pay, not what the market will bear.”

Gottfried, who has chaired the Assembly Health Committee since 1987, has been championing a single-payer system for more than 20 years, but this is the first time that hearings have been held on the subject. Pointing out that health-care premiums increased by 76 percent between the years 2003 and 2011 and that insurance providers have requested an increase of 12.5 percent in rates for 2015—they were only granted 5.7 percent—Gottfried hopes that now is the time to pass a bill that he believes will eliminate “unnecessary insurance company overhead and administrative costs that doctors and hospitals incur when dealing with insurance companies,” and “save New York consumers billions of dollars a year, while giving everyone access to the doctor and medicine they need, without financial obstacles and with freedom of choice, health-care security, and financial security.”

“As a nurse in the Emergency Department, I routinely see patients that delay seeking care because they can’t afford their co-pays and deductibles,” said Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN, President of the New York State Nurses Association. “As a result, they end up sicker and in poorer health. It’s time to make health care about caring for our fellow human beings and not a for-profit insurance marketplace.”

Opponents of the bill, such as Republican Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R-Long Island) and the Business Council of New York, aver that the bill would increase the burden on businesses or amount to socialized health care. It has, however, been endorsed by a host of unions and good-government groups such as NYS AFL-CIO, NYS Nurses Association, the NYS Academy of Family Physicians, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, NYS United Teachers, Citizen Action and many others.

“All over New York State, people are clamoring for a health-care system that is equitable, comprehensive and patient-centered—one that truly cares for them as human beings without reference to actuarial charts, prior approvals and prohibitive pricing,” said the sponsor of the corresponding legislation in the Senate, Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Harlem). “Our New York health bill will finally put patients before profits—while vastly improving our healthcare delivery system, saving the state substantial amounts of money and finally recognizing the hallmark maxim that the greatest wealth in our society is our collective health.”

Funiciello testifies in state Assembly on health care reform

January 23, 2015

In early January, Matt Funiciello of Glens Falls, the Green Party candidate for Congress that won a historic percentage of the vote locally, encourages his supporters to continue advocating for reforms that reflect the will of U.S. citizens.<br /><br />

In early January, Matt Funiciello of Glens Falls, the Green Party candidate for Congress that won a historic percentage of the vote locally, encourages his supporters to continue advocating for reforms that reflect the will of U.S. citizens. Photo byThom Randall.

http://www.denpubs.com/news/2015/jan/22/funiciello-testifies-state-assembly-health-care-re/

ALBANY — Matt Funiciello of Glens Falls, the most successful third-party candidate for Congress in Warren County in recent history, testified before the state Assembly Jan 13 on behalf of a single-payer health care system in New York.

Funiciello, proprietor of Rock Hill Bakery and its associated cafe in Glens Falls, spoke on behalf of the proposed New York Health Act. The legislation would establish a state-run system that would replace the present patchwork system that relies on both private insurance companies, as well as the federal and state governments.

New York Health Act has been championed by state Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat. Gottfried and Funiciello both say that if health care was provided merely through the state government, $20 billion would be saved by eliminating insurance companies’ overhead and the burdensome administrative costs that health care providers shoulder by dealing with these firms as well the government.

“Obamacare does nothing to make health care more affordable in the U.S.,” Funiciello said, noting that the U.S. government alone spends $9,800 per citizen annually on medical costs. “Health care is the biggest economic scam going on in this country.”

In his testimony, Funiciello noted that during his early years living in Ontario, had been covered by the province’s health care system, which provided coverage to all residents. He noted that the Canadian health care system not only was universal coverage, but it cost about half per capita of the amount spent on health care in the U.S., yet ranked substantially higher for quality of care than the U.S. system.

He noted that the Canadian health care approach drastically reduced administrative and billing costs, which in the U.S. are between 22 percent and 30 percent of health care expenses. He noted that about twice the money is spent on health care in the U.S. than Canada, but our nation ranks 38th among nations for quality of care, compared to 30 for Canada, which has no co-pays or deductibles.

He also noted that the U.S. health care system, which relies on for-profit corporations as middlemen, encourages denial of coverage, and has enabled pharmaceutical companies to charge so much for their drugs that the U.S. has the highest pharmaceutical costs of any western nation. He also noted that the existing system is riddled with exclusions and prevents many citizens from receiving care from doctors of their choice.

He said that health care costs could be exorbitant to individuals and families who experience a medical calamity.

“Millions of Americans are just months away from being destitute,” he said, noting that he does not have health insurance for himself, nor do 45 million other U.S. citizens. “This is one of the most important issues in the U.S.”

Funiciello concluded his presentation urging politicians to follow the will of individuals rather than powerful corporations.

“Kudos and bravo to those New York politicians who have the fortitude and principles to push forward toward single payer legislation,” Funiciello said.

Activist Connection Conference Call, Monday, January 26, 2015 8:00 – 9:00 pm

January 20, 2015

Single Payer New York

SPNY Activist Connection Conference Call

When: Monday, January 26, 2015    8:00 – 9:00 pm

Conference Dial-in number: 1-857-232-0155 and conference access code: 103346

To mute and unmute your line, dial 4*

Discussion Topics:

Statewide Hearings on New York Health Bill: The hearings were successful on many fronts.  What did we learn, who did we reach and where do we go from here?

Continuing the struggle for universal, publicly financed healthcare in Vermont.  The Vermont Workers Center.

Sincerely,
Single Payer New York Action Team

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Albany Hearing – Photographs

January 18, 2015

David G. Curry, PhD, APRN, Professor Emeritus, SUNY Plattsburgh; United University Professions; NYS Nurses Association

David G. Curry, PhD, APRN, Professor Emeritus, SUNY Plattsburgh; United University Professions; NYS Nurses Association

 

 

Callie Currin, President, Currin Compliance Services, LLC

Callie Currin, President, Currin Compliance Services, LLC

Tracy Frisch, Self-EmployedTracy Frisch, Self-Employed

 

Darius Shahinfar, Albany City Treasurer

Darius Shahinfar, Albany City Treasurer

 

Maria Alvarez, Executive Director, NY Statewide Senior Action Council

Maria Alvarez, Executive Director, NY Statewide Senior Action Council

Matt Funiciello, Owner, Rock Hill Bakehouse; Green Party Congressional Candidate

 

 

 

 

 

Gottfried, Perkins say time is right for single-payer health care (Albany Hearing)

January 18, 2015

Legislative Gazette
http://www.legislativegazette.com/Articles-Top-Stories-c-2015-01-13-90454.113122-Gottfried-Perkins-say-time-is-right-for-singlepayer-health-care.html
By MATTHEW D’ONOFRIO
January 13, 2015

For two decades, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, has been calling on his fellow lawmakers to pass legislation that would provide universal health care for all New Yorkers.

To cap off a series of statewide hearings that began in November, the Assembly Health Committee — chaired by Gottfried — held a hearing on the Health Care Act on Tuesday in Albany where doctors, health care advocates, union leaders, and clergy discussed the need for a health care system that simplifies the billing system for treatment.

gottfried
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Assemblyman Gottfired 
Photo by Adam Shelmerdine.

“New Yorkers deserve better,” said Gottfried, the bill’s sponsor. “We deserve to be able to go to the doctor when we need to, without worrying about if we can afford it. We deserve not to worry when we get a medical bill or an insurance statement we can’t figure out. We deserve health coverage for all of us, at a price based on our abilities to pay, not what the market will bear.”

Gottfried says the Health Act would save billions of dollars yearly by eliminating unnecessary insurance company overhead and administrative costs that doctors incur when dealing with insurance companies including premiums, deductibles, co-pays, restricted provider networks and out-of-network charges. New Yorkers would have the independence to choose their doctors and other providers based on ability to pay. The program will be fully accountable, eliminating the ‘local share’ of Medicaid.

“Your health is your wealth,” shouted Perkins, the Senate sponsor, to the dozens of supporters who filled the Well of the Legislative Office Building. “Your health is your wealth,” the supporters responded.

Leaders of various organizations such as the New York State AFL-CIO, New York State Nurses Association, the New York State Academy of Family Physicians, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, New York State United Teachers and Citizen Action of New York were present.

“Passing single-payer health care would be an essential step in ensuring that every New Yorker, regardless of his or her income level, has access to affordable and quality health care, while saving tax payers millions,” said Sen. Gustavo Rivera, who was at the rally. “It’s common sense.”
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