To the editor:
Plans are afoot in Washington to further weaken the Affordable Care Act or eliminate it entirely. The recent appointment of a new Supreme Court justice and recent moves by the Department of Justice could bring these plans to fruition, thus throwing millions of Americans off their health insurance plans.
In New York, passing the New York Health Act is the obvious and proactive response to this potential crisis. Years of rigorous review and solid econometric studies have shows that New York State’s 23 million people would save an estimated $70 billion in the first year of operation with the simple elimination of private insurance. Even after the deduction of transition expenses, such as training displaced workers and providing them extended unemployment benefits, the New York Health Act would save $45 million for patient care.
With its huge base, the state can negotiate volume discounts for pharmaceutical products and medical devices. Fraud detection, simplified with the elimination of multiple payers, would result in further savings. Administrative costs would be similar to those of Medicare at 2 percent of premiums collected, as opposed to up to 17 percent for commercial health insurers.
The argument that providing health care to all residents of New York State is too expensive is absurd. It would cost less than we pay now, and provide insurance for the 2 million New Yorkers who currently have no health insurance, or who still can’t see a doctor due to costs.
We should embrace the New York Health Act. The state Assembly has passed this bill four years in a row, and at the moment, it is only one vote short in the state senate.
Let your representatives know that you support the New York Health Act. While this year’s legislative session is over, we need to begin now to urge our state senators, and those running for office, to explain the bill to constituents on their websites, in their mailings, in town hall debates, and in letters to the editor of local papers.
The author is writing on behalf of the Riverdale Huddle, which includes Dale Wolff, Sue Ellen Dodell, Annemarie Golden, Carol Radel, Ellen Chapnick, Beth Adelman Torres, Ruth Mullen and Mihaela Ghiuzeli.