Tomorrow afternoon outside State Senator Marty Golden’s Office in Bay Ridge, there will be a rally, and organizers are expecting a large crowd of people to attend to advocate for Bill S4840, also known as the New York health act, to be released for a vote in the Senate.
New York health act passed the New York Assembly earlier this month, and this rally is hoping to push State Senator Marty Golden, a Republican, to work together with his colleagues and release the bill from the Senate Health Committee to the floor for a vote before the end of the legislative session on June 21st.
The New York health act is co-sponsored by 108 elected representatives, including 30 Members of the Senate and 78 Members of the Assembly. Here’s a summary of the full text you can find on the senate page:
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL : This bill would create a universal single payer health plan - New York Health - to provide comprehensive health coverage for all New Yorkers. SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS : Every New York resident would be eligible to enroll, regardless of age, income, wealth, employment, or other status. There would be no network restrictions, deductibles, or co-pays. Coverage would be publicly funded. The benefits will include comprehensive outpatient and inpatient medical care, primary and preventive care, prescription drugs, laboratory tests, rehabilitative, dental, vision, hearing, etc. - all benefits required by current state insurance law or provided by the state public employee package, Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus, Medicare, or Medicaid, and others added by the plan. Everyone would choose a primary care practitioner or other provider to
provide care coordination - helping to get the care and follow-up the patient needs, referrals, and navigating the system. But there would be no "gatekeeper" obstacles to care. As with most health coverage, New York Health covers health care services when a member is out of state, either because health care is needed while the member is traveling or because there is a clinical reason for going to a particular out-of-state provider. A broadly representative Board of Trustees will advise the Commissioner of Health. Longterm care coverage is not included at the start, but the bill requires that the Board develop a plan for it within two years of passage. The Board shall also develop proposals relating to retiree health benefits and coverage of health care services covered under the workers' compensation law. In addition to the Board, there will be six regional advisory councils to represent the diverse needs and concerns of the region. The councils shall include but not be limited to representatives of health care consumers, providers, municipal and county government, and organized labor. The councils shall advise the Board, Commissioner, Governor, and Legislature on matters elating to the NY Health program and shall adopt community health improvement plans to promote health care access and quality in their regions. Health care providers, including those providing care coordination, would be paid in full by New York Health, with no co-pays or other charges to patients. The plan would develop alternative payment methods to replace old-style fee-for-service (which rewards volume but not quality), and would negotiate rates with health care provider organizations. (Fee-for-service would continue until new methods are phased in.) The bill would authorize health care providers to form organizations to collectively negotiate with New York Health. Health care would no longer be paid for by insurance companies charging a regressive "tax" - insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays - imposed regardless of ability to pay. Instead, New York Health would be paid for based on ability to pay, through a progressively-graduated payroll-based premium (paid at least 80% by employers and not more than 20% by employees, and 100% by self-employed) and a progressively-graduated premium based on other taxable income, such as capital gains, interest and dividends. A specific revenue plan, following guidelines in the bill, would be submitted to the Legislature by the Governor. Federal funds now received for Medicare, Medicaid, Family Health and Child Health Plus would be combined with the state revenue in a New York Health Trust Fund. New York would seek federal waivers that will allow New York to completely fold those programs into New York Health. The "local share" of Medicaid funding - a major burden on local property taxes - would be ended. Private insurance that duplicates benefits offered under New York Health could not be offered to New York residents. (Existing retiree coverage could be phased out and replaced with New York Health.)
The rally is co-hosted by South Brooklyn Progressive Resistance and Fight Back Bay Ridge, and co-sponsored by a long list of community organizations including Campaign for New York Health, NYC DSA, NY Health Act Now, #GetOrganizedBK, Bay Ridge Democrats, Brooklyn ReSisters, Rally for Healthcare, Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, Social Alternative, Gray Panthers, New York 17th District for Progress, and Green Party of Brooklyn.
“Sen. Marty Golden has the chance to be a hero for our community by revolutionizing healthcare in our state,” said one of the event organizers, Sarah Zorn. “We are really hoping that he would work with his colleagues on the Senate Health Committee to release this bill from committee to a floor vote before the end of the legislative session.”
The rally to pass the New York Health Act will take place at Marty Golden’s Bay Ridge, Brooklyn office (7408 5 th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11209) on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.