The New York Health Act is a bill that would create a single-payer healthcare system in the state.
Last week the House of Representatives passed a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans and leave as many as 24 million people without health insurance by 2026. As 13 male, GOP Senators work on drafting their own version of the bill, many Democrats in Washington feel as though their hands are tied when it comes to saving healthcare.
While Republicans control both Congress and the White House, Democrats who wield power in state government are using this opportunity to propose their own healthcare plans. A popular option being considered in many blue states is a single-payer system, often called “Medicare For All.”
New York is among the first states attempting to circumvent the specter of Trumpcare by offering a single-payer healthcare option to all state residents. In a single-payer healthcare system, residents pay the state – through taxes determined by the state – to cover healthcare costs, as opposed to buying coverage from private insurers competing for their business.
The New York Health Act, a bill introduced by New York State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-75th District), has already passed the state legislature in Albany. The bill proposed by Gottfried, who also chairs the New York State Assembly Committee on Health, would enroll every New Yorker in a state-run insurance program. The bill is currently several votes short of passing the NYS Senate. Similar single-payer legislation passed the New York State Assembly in 2015 and 2016, but did not make it through the New York State Senate.
The taxes paid by New Yorkers for a single-payer system, Gottfried contends, “would be substantially less than we now spend on health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.” And State Senator Gustavo Rivera hopes his colleagues will join him in supporting the bill because “[p]assing the single-payer health care law would be a critical step in ensuring that every New Yorker has access to affordable and quality healthcare.”
So far, the bill has been endorsed by the New York medical community and a number of civic and labor groups, including those representing physicians, nurses, pediatrics, interns, and medical residents, among others.