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Single Payer Health Care Bill Passes Assembly

The New York Health Act would ensure that every New Yorker has access to health care. (Tammra McCauley/Flickr)
The New York Health Act would ensure that every New Yorker has access to health care. (Tammra McCauley/Flickr)
May 18, 2017

ALBANY, N.Y. – A single payer health plan would bring affordable health care to all New Yorkers if a measure approved Tuesday in the State Assembly becomes law.

It would make New York the first state in the nation to give every resident health care.

The care would be paid for by an employment-based premium tied to income with employers paying 80 percent.

According to Dr. Oliver Fein, chair of the New York Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Plan, it would provide quality health care with no copays or deductibles.

"It would be very comprehensive and, I think, be an improvement over Medicare and an improvement, frankly, over most employer-based health insurance," he states.

While the Assembly now has passed the New York Health Act three years in a row, so far the Senate has failed to act on the legislation.

Fein notes that a single payer system could significantly reduce costs by negotiating with pharmaceutical companies and health care providers, and drastically cutting hospital-billing costs.

"There was a comparison of Toronto General with Mass. General 'cause they're similarly sized hospitals,” he states. “Toronto General, three people dealing with billing. At the Mass. General, over 350."

Fein adds that while private insurance companies spend about 20 percent on administrative costs, for Medicare that figure is only 3 percent.

In the Senate, 30 Democrats are backing the measure, but it has no Republican sponsor. With the growing public awareness of the potential impact of a federal repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Fein feels there is a chance the bill could finally pass.

"It is very possible that a Republican might see it in their interest, frankly, to swing over and support it," he states.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not taken a position on the bill.


Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY