Right after taking her oath of office to become our community’s next state senator, Alessandra Biaggi tapped the brakes ever so slightly on what could be one of the most important pieces of legislation in our generation: the New York Health Act.
And she is absolutely right to do so.
The New York Health Act will change everything we know about health care in this state, including how it’s paid for. Unless some other state beats us to the punch, the experiment to create a single-payer system where everyone is covered without opening their wallets or purses (except at tax time) will be conducted in our very city, our very neighborhoods.
While many in this state want to see single-payer succeed, there are so many more who want it to crash and burn. And any misstep, any speed bump, any hurdle will be amplified in such ways as showing this system is a failure out the gate.
We can’t afford to let that happen. While no plan won’t be without its warts, the better we anticipate those problems, the better we can mitigate them.
And we can’t anticipate them without ensuring every aspect of this plan is sound — from how it will be funded, to how people receive treatment, to how we ensure each and every one of us continues to get the superior medical services we would expect from such an extraordinary state.
Biaggi and other lawmakers who don’t want to rush too fast into this have all this in mind. They don’t want to stumble through this blindly, because there’s almost no room for error. Everything has to be perfect, and our new leadership in Albany is working hard to make sure that happens.
We have waited a long time for the New York Health Act. But it is coming, hopefully with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on board. We’re only going to get one real bite at the apple here, and we absolutely have to make it count.
And if that means waiting a little bit longer to ensure it’s done right — the patience will truly pay off in the end.