Public Power

S.5474 | A.6058

In our current healthcare system, your zip code could determine your life expectancy. The wealthiest one percent of Americans live 10 to 15 years longer than the poorest one percent. Why does this happen? There are vastly different standards of care depending on whether you are uninsured, have medicaid, or use private insurance. Over one million New Yorkers lack health coverage, and as many as three of these New Yorkers will die each day as a consequence. Our current healthcare system is also based on a large amount of waste, fraud, and profiteering. Administrative costs account for 8% of total health care costs, with another 7-12% of revenue accounting for profits and salaries. Though the US nationally spends more than $3 trillion on healthcare every year, the outcomes show no increase in the quality of care. For example, maternal mortality is increasing in the US while other high-income countries are reducing these rates significantly.

 

The New York Health Act A6058/S5474  would provide comprehensive healthcare for every New York resident, replacing private insurance with one public program in which each person receives high-quality care. This means that all residents of New York, regardless of immigration status, age, employment or financial means, will be covered for primary, preventative and specialty care (including mental health care, substance abuse treatment, reproductive health, dental, vision, hearing, long term care, prescription drugs, and medical supplies). Today, many people struggle to get healthcare. With the New York Health Act,  healthcare would automatically be covered by a statewide public fund. Patients and doctors would make the decisions together, without the interference of private insurance companies. This would mean the elimination of premiums, deductibles, and copays; health care would be funded on a graduated tax based on individual ability to pay. Overall, healthcare costs will be less expensive for 98 percent of New York residents. If fire departments, schools and libraries are public services everyone has access to, why shouldn’t something as important as healthcare be as well?

As the effects of the climate crisis continue to aggravate the health of New Yorkers struggling with asthma or living near toxic pollution, a reliable and equitable healthcare system is absolutely vital.