New push for state-funded health care

May 06, 2014

Lawmakers, patients and health providers are urging the Legislature to pass a bill they say would provide every New Yorker with the basic human right to health care. Advocates rallied outside the Capitol Tuesday demanding the state adopt a single-payer system of health insurance and put “patients before profits.”

The universal health insurance bill, also known as New York Health, would streamline coverage for New Yorkers by replacing existing private and state health care programs with one universal program paid for by the federal and state governments. In order to do so, the state will need a waiver so that federal funding streams for specific programs can be pooled and applied toward statewide health coverage.

The concept for the bill (A.5389-a/S.2078-a) was initially introduced 23 years ago, and passed in the Assembly in 1992. However, it has not been brought to the floor for a vote since. Currently, New York Health has received the official support of 72 assembly members, but activists are confident it would pass if a vote is allowed.

Chair of the Assembly Health Committee and sponsor of the legislation Richard Gottfried said great strides were made with the passage of the federal Affordable Care Act, but more needs to be done.

“What is now crystal clear to everyone is that while you can patch it up, the system still does not work,” said Gottfried, D-Manhattan. “We do not need health insurance companies. We need to recognize that health care is a human right, not a commodity.”  Read the full article….