The New York Health Act passed the New York State Assembly

Published on May 27, 2015

In a vote that was 89-47, the New York State Assembly voted for a single-payer health bill today, Wednesday, 27 May, 2015.

The New York Health Act passed the New York State Assembly.

Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried had introduced this bill annually since 1992 and today there was a vote that passed the bill. The bill would have to be taken up in the Senate as well.

A summary and the full text of the bill is on our legislative page here.

We’re linking to the economic analysis of the New York Health act by University of Massachusetts/Amherst Economics Department Chair Gerald Friedman here.

“New Yorkers deserve better, 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.” – Assemblyman Richard Gottfried

The New York Health Act would remove the insurance carriers from the process and it would be funded by payroll taxes similar to payroll taxes deducted for Medicare. It is said that employers would pay 80% and employees would pay 20%.

What follows are excerpts from today’s press release:

Assembly Passes Universal Health Care Bill

“Assembly passage of New York Health will elevate the issue on the public agenda and change the conversation from ‘it’s a great idea that will never happen’ to a truly achievable goal,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried, lead Assembly sponsor of the bill.

New York Health would provide universal, comprehensive health care to all New Yorkers without premiums, co-pays, deductibles, or limited provider networks.

The last time a universal health care bill was on the Assembly floor it passed with a solid majority. “But then, the focus of reform shifted to Washington. While the federal Affordable Care Act has done a lot of good, it’s clear that a lot of problems remain – and if we want to fix them, we have to do it ourselves,” Mr. Gottfried said.

“Funding and administering health insurance is the primary uncontrolled burden on local budgets,” said Albany City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar. “The question for me is how these hidden costs of health care – insurance company profit, administrative waste and inefficiency, mandatory local Medicaid spending – affect our local taxes. The facts are undeniable: New York Health, based on my conservative estimates, would reduce City and School District tax rates by at least 20% and could eliminate many County property taxes entirely. Getting full health care coverage while cutting property taxes seems like a no-brainer to me.”

In December and January, the Assembly Health Committee held hearings on the bill in Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, New York City, Mineola, and Albany. The Committee heard testimony from almost 200 witnesses including New Yorkers with insurance who are bankrupted by their deductibles; patients who lose trusted providers due to restricted networks; doctors who spend hours on the phone negotiating with insurance bureaucrats; and medical students who “signed up for medical school, not business school.”

The New York Health Act removes financial barriers to health care – the co-pays and deductibles – that keep some of my patients from seeing me when they need to,” said Oliver Fein, MD, Chair of Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro. The New York Health Act is a universal, single payer system that would guarantee equal access to care that is funded fairly – something every New Yorker and resident of this country deserves.”

New York Health would be a boon to business. Employer spending on health care eats up a median 12.8% of payroll costs on health insurance, up more than 50% in a decade, with small businesses spending even higher percentages. According to the Friedman study, New York Health could be funded through an income assessment averaging just 8.1% of payroll.”