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Single-payer health plan passes Health Committee

President Obama once said, ‘No American should ever spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.’ But it shouldn’t be just our golden years.

That’s why I sponsored “New York Health,” a bill to provide all New Yorkers with comprehensive health care coverage. Today, it passed the Assembly Health Committee.

New York Health would replace private insurance company premiums, co-pays, and limited choices of providers with a publicly-sponsored benefit package more comprehensive than most commercial health plans.

Under the plane, New Yorkers would be covered for all medically necessary services including primary, preventive, and specialist care; hospital; mental health; reproductive health; dental; vision; prescription drug; and medical supply costs. Instead of individuals and employers paying high premiums, deductibles and co-pays, the coverage would be funded through a graduated state tax on income, based on ability to pay. For most people, New York Health will represent a net savings compared to the current, regressive system of insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays.

Single-payer models have dramatically lower administrative costs than private insurance. In 2009, a New York State Department of Health and Insurance Department study found that a single-payer system would provide universal coverage at a lower total cost than plans relying on private, employer-based coverage.

The bill must be reviewed by the Assembly Codes and Ways & Means Committees before it goes to the Assembly floor for a vote.
If passed and signed into law, New York would be the second state to implement a single-payer health plan. (Vermont was the first.)