Support New York Health Act


To the editor:

On Tuesday, June 5, several Riverdale residents joined more than 500 supporters of the New York Health Act to demonstrate in Albany for its passage.

From every corner of the state, they traveled by bus, car, and even bicycle all the way from Brooklyn, in support of the bill.

They were among doctors, nurses, health care professionals, business owners, representatives of organized labor, and ordinary citizens who are convinced that this plan would benefit all New Yorkers regardless of wealth, income, age, immigration or health status.

Supported by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, the bill is likely to clear the Assembly overwhelmingly, perhaps by the time The Riverdale Press hits your mailbox.

The push for the New York Health Act comes when it seems most necessary, Republicans in the U.S. Congress are threatening cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and the Complete Health Improvement Program — or CHIP — to fund the deficits caused by their tax bill.

The Justice Department announced that it will not contest lawsuits brought by states against the Affordable Care Act, just at a time when insurance companies are threatening to raise their rates for 2019, rendering the Affordable Care Act unaffordable.

Half of Americans consider health care their primary concern.

The Albany marchers carried with them postcard petitions from 10,000 New Yorkers, which they delivered to Assembly members and senators, whom they lobbied for after the demonstration on the mall, urging them to use all the influence of their office (in town halls, newspaper articles, websites, and especially in the newsletters sent to their districts) to inform their constituents of the ways in which New York Health would offer them improved Medicare for all.

The delegation visiting Sen. Klein (one of 31 co-sponsors of the bill) discovered that he and his legislative assistant were engaged in a rules debate on the senate floor. His scheduler took notes.

Though the senate is facing deadlock right now, with neither party having a majority — and legislative action may stay chaotic until June 20 — there are 20 candidates (most supporting the New York Health Act) running for senate. 

And they are not all Democrats. 

And their success, in September primaries and in the November general election, will determine whether New York Health can become law in early 2019.

It’s not too late to call or email Sen. Klein, urging him to follow the notes of his scheduler, to think of health care as a human right, not as a commodity for insurance company profits, and to publicize his support of the New York Health Act.

Barbara Estrin

Barbara Estrin