To the editor:
(re: “Universal health care depends on just one senator we all know,” Sept. 28)
Thank you for calling out Sen. Jeff Klein for his duplicitous role in blocking the New York Health Act, which would provide single-payer, universal health care coverage in New York State.
While he has indeed given himself political cover by being a co-sponsor of the bill, he knows that it will never be brought to the floor for a vote. Why? Because the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference that he leads means that Republicans will remain in control of all committee chairs, controlling the legislative agenda.
The New York Health Act is not the only progressive health care legislation that Sen. Klein and his other IDC members are blocking. The Reproductive Health Act and Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act are just two others.
We have closely followed the debate in your letters to the editor in recent months in which the beneficiaries extol Sen. Klein for providing state funding for their often worthy causes, while critics and now your editorial paint a true picture of Klein’s larger role in Albany.
For those of us who voted for what we thought were progressive Democrats, what we have instead is the crass political manipulations of Sen. Klein and his IDC. If the IDC were disbanded and its members were to fulfill the mandate their voters envisioned, Democrats would assume control of the senate’s committees and agenda.
All people who support a progressive agenda for New York State should be outraged. As constituents of Sen. Klein, our voices and votes count. We urge you to contact him to express your opposition to the IDC and his politics that puts personal power above the interests of all New Yorkers.
Peter Beitchman, Judy Fletcher
The authors are co-chairs of the health care committee for the grassroots political advocacy organization NYCD-16 Indivisible.