NY Assembly passes single-payer healthcare plan

Kelly Gooch - Print  | 

New York state is one step closer to having a single-payer health plan after the state assembly passed the New York Health Act on Tuesday, according to a Times Union report.

The measure, which still needs to pass the state Senate, proposes covering state residents without taking into account income, age or health status. Residents who enroll in the single-payer plan would have access to physicians and other healthcare providers, as well as inpatient and outpatient care, primary and preventative care, prescription drugs, behavioral health services, laboratory testing and rehabilitative care, the release states. Dental, vision and hearing care are also among the included benefits.

Residents who receive publicly funded coverage through the single-payer plan also would not have network restrictions, deductibles or copays, the release states. Lawmakers said funding would instead be based on a shared 80/20 employer/employee contribution system.

Assembly Health Committee Chairman and bill sponsor Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, said in a news release support for the plan "is growing with the public and in the state Senate, where we now have 30 co-sponsors including all the mainstream Democrats and Independent Democratic Conference."

State and federal monies would create the New York Health Trust Fund. The state would also seek federal waivers to fold Medicare, Medicaid and Child Health Plus programs into New York Health, according to the release. The single-payer system could cost the state $91 billion in revenues, but it could save residents $45 billion in healthcare costs, Mr. Gottfried said, reports Times Union.

But not everyone is on board with the plan.

"Beyond affordability questions, a single-payer system would impose government price control on all healthcare services, eliminating any vestige of market competition in a major sector of the state economy," Bill Hammond, with the Empire Center for Public Policy, an Albany, N.Y.-based fiscally conservative think tank, wrote last year after the Assembly passed the same bill, according to the Times Union. "It would also channel billions more dollars through New York's notoriously dysfunctional state capital, multiplying opportunities for favoritism and corruption."


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