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It’s Time To Embrace Gottfried’s Health Act

To The Reader’s Forum:

The editorial “NY Lawmaker Should Abandon Crusade for Single Payer Health Care (Post Journal, February 22, 2019)” asserts that NYS should “listen to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Empire Center for New York Policy” and abandon the New York Health Act (NYHA).

I take exception to this recommendation. Both the Empire Center and the Governor are heavily funded by the medical-industrial complex which works to protect our broken system, ultimately killing tens of thousands of Americans each year for lack of access to health care. That system also causes unending anguish for millions more to produce record-setting profits (and maintain incumbency).

Many people don’t consider The Empire Center be a policy center in the normal meaning of the phrase. Reliable experts view it as a creature of ultra-conservative oligarchs, funded by unseen pipelines of unidentified money, producing and disseminating studies of questionable validity across New York state in order to further the interests of the extremely wealthy.

The NYHA will not put us at the mercy of Wall Street quarterly earnings reports. Our current reliance on employer-sponsored, market-based health insurance ties us to employers who pay a decreasing share of health insurance costs each year, while keeping our wages low because “benefits” cost so much.

These “benefits” come with strategically designed obstacles to healthcare — claim denials, prior authorizations, narrow networks, and the drumbeat of co-pays, co-insurance, and uncovered costs. By decreasing usage, these obstacles increase profits. Other individuals, fully employed at multiple jobs that don’t offer benefits, encounter laws that subject their health to a grotesque barometer of income eligibility.

While tax increases for most people under the NYHA would be approximately the same as current health premiums, there are many benefits to the plan. It would eliminate confusing policies, narrow networks, and all out-of-pocket costs. Too many terrified New Yorkers are miserable at work, but job-locked because of their health insurance. The NYHA will give all of us affordable healthcare, whether or not our employer contributes to premiums — even if we lose our jobs, are looking for work, or are working multiple jobs. The current price tag for New York state healthcare is above $280 billion a year — and growing much faster than wages or inflation; it threatens to take over our entire economy. It’s neither affordable nor sustainable. It’s already breaking millions of N.Y. families. If we do nothing, it will break New York State.

It’s time to embrace Assembly Member Gottfried’s New York Health Act.

Suzanne Flierl Krull

Cuba, N.Y.

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