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Support Growing for NY Single-Payer Bill

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One study estimates the New York Health Act would save almost $45 billion in the first year. (401(K) 2012/Flickr)
One study estimates the New York Health Act would save almost $45 billion in the first year. (401(K) 2012/Flickr)
 By Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY - Producer, Contact
April 4, 2017

NEW YORK – Doctors, nurses and lawmakers are rallying in Albany today, urging the state Senate to pass a statewide single-payer health-care bill. The New York Health Act already has passed in the Assembly twice and is co-sponsored by almost half of all state senators.

If it becomes law, it would replace private insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays for all New Yorkers, regardless of employment, health, or immigration status, with a publicly funded system based on ability to pay.

Doctor Oliver Fein, chair of the New York Metro Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Plan, says it would benefit not only the two million New Yorkers who are still uninsured, but also those who are working and paying insurance premiums.

"We think for most people with incomes below $100,000, they will actually save money," he said.

A 2015 study estimated that the New York Health Act would save almost $45 billion in the first year alone.

Fein adds that the bill also would eliminate the local share of the cost of Medicaid. He points out that currently, counties are paying about 25 percent of the cost of Medicaid for their residents.

"That would be absorbed into the New York Health Act and would be eliminated from a cost to taxpayers in rural counties in upstate New York," he added.

That would lower property tax bills.

At last count, the bill had 30 co-sponsors in the state Senate, just two votes short of a majority, and a special election next month is expected to raise that total to 31. Fein says the rally in Albany could put the bill over the top.

"We're optimistic that we'll be able to persuade somebody in the majority to come over and vote on this act," Fein said.

Fein notes that efforts in Washington to repeal the Affordable Care Act make action at the state level to preserve and expand health coverage critical.

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