Assembly passes bill to create single-payer health plan

June 3, 2015

http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/236046/assembly-passes-bill-to-create-single-payer-health-plan/

Posted on May 27, 2015 at 6:16 pm by Matthew Hamilton in AssemblyAssembly Democratic ConferenceHealthHealth Care

The state Assembly approved on Wednesday evening a bill that would create a single-payer health system in New York.

The bill passed 89-47.

As my colleague Claire Hughes reported this morning, the vote is the first to occur on the proposal, which Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried has introduced annually for years, since 1992.

“New Yorkers deserve better,” Gottfried said in a statement. “We should be able to go to the doctor when we need to, without worrying whether we can afford it. We should choose our doctors and hospitals without worrying about network restrictions. We deserve health coverage for all of us, paid for based on our ability to pay, not what the market will bear. I’m proud the Assembly has passed the New York Health Act, and I look forward to working with a great community of advocates including medical professionals, medical students, organized labor, and Senate sponsor Bill Perkins, to enact it into law.”

More from Claire Hughes:

The proposal, called the New York Health Act and dubbed “Medicare for all” by advocates, would provide comprehensive health coverage to all New Yorkers.

With 82 co-sponsors, the bill has a superb chance of getting the 76 votes it needs to pass the Democratic-controlled Assembly. (Passage is highly unlikely, however, in the Republican-majority state Senate.)

Some medical groups and labor unions have supported the proposal in recent years, in addition to grassroots proponents. They argue that a single-payer system would be less costly and easier to administer than the current private health system.

The Health Plan Association, which represents insurance companies, has opposed it; its CEO, Paul Macielak, said at an Assembly hearing in January that the act would dissolve the current private health care industry, which has a proven record for providing care.

Since a public option that would run parallel to a private insurance system failed to make it into the federal law known as Obamacare five years ago, advocates for a single-payer health system have focused their work on the states.

The failure of the federal law known as Obamacare to include even a public option that would run parallel to a private insurance system moved the focus of the single-payer movement to the states.

Vermont recently backed away from implementing a single-payer plan due to the high cost. An analysis released in March by a University of Massachusetts professor estimated New York health care expenditures would actually be reduced by $45 billion a year if the law were enacted.

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