Tag Affordable Care Act

City and State: Federal uncertainty keeps New York’s health care agenda in limbo

November 20, 2017

Health care legislation in Albany during the 2018 session will be largely affected by decisions made in Washington. State Sen. Kemp Hannon, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, said the state Legislature would be “very careful” and will be “watching what happens” in Congress this year when deliberating health care issues.

Last week, U.S. Senate Republicans launched another effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act by including a measure in their sweeping tax reform proposal to eliminate the requirement that Americans buy health insurance or face a fine.

Additionally, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which gives federal aid to provide medical coverage for low-income children, expired on Oct. 1. Nearly 700,000 children in New York state were enrolled in CHIP as of last year, according to Medicaid data.

Gotham Gazette: Amid Health Care Funding Fights, Cuomo Explores Special Session

By Rachel Silberstein, October 12

Governor Andrew Cuomo has been floating the idea of a special legislative session to address federal cuts to the state’s health care programs, as well as other concerns that have developed, since the state budget was agreed to in April.

In that budget, Cuomo pushed to include and won a provision granting him nearly unilateral power to adjust the state’s financial plan mid-year in the event of at least $800 million in federal cuts to the state. In April, the governor said the provision would ensure that “we do not overcommit ourselves financially” and indicated it allowed him to sign off on a budget that did not otherwise account for likely federal cuts. But, it appears as if Cuomo may call lawmakers back to Albany — likely with agreement from the legislative majorities to an agenda — regardless of whether the threshold has been met.

Times-Union: Cuomo signals support for single-payer health care

By Matthew Hamilton, 9/19/17

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo signaled support of single-payer health care at both the federal and state levels on Monday as Democrats nationwide rally around the issue.

“I think that would be a good idea,” Cuomo said on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” when asked about a federal “Medicare for All” system.

But single-payer may face a roadblock from Republicans who are weighing another effort to repeal the Obama-era Affordable Healthcare Act.

“I’m afraid (the Republicans) come back with health care reform,” the governor added. “I think we’re in the eye of the storm, where it’s apparently quiet right now on health care. I think the back half of the storm is going to come around.”

Single-payer — the concept that everyone chips in to cover “free” health care coverage when someone needs it — recently gained the support of U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and is a point on which Democrats seeking office next year are touting.

Yet while federal legislation is going nowhere in a Republican-controlled Congress, New York Democrats have pushed for a single-payer system on the state level. The Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats, has passed single-payer legislation repeatedly in recent years. The GOP-held state Senate has not taken up the issue.

Cuomo seemed open to single-payer on the state level, assuming that federal health care funding funneled to the state is maintained. He has bemoaned a proposal that would force the state to pick up the county share of Medicaid costs, lest it risk losing federal funding of an equal amount.

“If they were to pass it and it was not incongruous with what the federal government would do to us, I think it’s a very exciting possibility,” Cuomo said. “But I think it’s going to be a federal play. Our funding system basically relies on Medicaid from the feds. If they turn off that valve or slow that valve, there is no way we’re going to be able to make that up in this state no matter what.”

It’s worth noting that the state would have to raise an estimated $91 billion in revenues to fund a state-level single-payer system, according to Assembly sponsor Dick Gottfried, D-New York. According to Gottfried’s bill, any revenue proposal would need to account for ending of local payments for Medicaid.

Cuomo has been mentioned as a potential Democratic candidate for president in 2020, a year when single-payer may be a key issue for a White House run. On the heels of his trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands on Friday to survey hurricane damage, Cuomo was asked on Lehrer’s program if he is taking actions with an eye toward 2020.

“Once you start with this presidential question, whatever you do, you can interpret as ‘he’s doing that because he wants to run for president,'” Cuomo said. “Whatever I do they could say that.”

He added: “The Virgin Islands, I don’t even believe they vote for president. So if you’re running for president, there are a lot of other places to go besides the Virgin Islands — like Florida would probably be where you would have gone.”

Journal-News: ‘Medicare-for-all’ single-payer plans reignited by GOP’s Obamacare rollback

By Barrett Newkirk and David Robinson, June 23

As Republicans push reforms reducing the government’s role in health care, some opponents are emboldened in their support for the opposite approach, one that greatly increases the government-health care link.

Progressive politicians and activists see a future in single-payer health care, the term for a government-run health insurance program that would be available to any American. While a Democratic-backed federal bill has no future in the GOP-led Congress, backers have had more success at the state level.

Capital Pressroom Interview (audio)

On May 16 I joined Susan Arbetter of Capital Pressroom for a conversation about single-payer healthcare and Republican attacks on the Affordable Care Act.  You can find the interview here.

PRESS RELEASE – Assembly to Pass New York Health Act Today

Assembly to Pass New York Health Act Today

Single Payer System Guarantees Health Coverage
for all New Yorkers

(Albany, NY, May 16, 2017) Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried announced the Assembly’s intent to pass the New York Health Act today. The universal “improved Medicare for all” single-payer health plan would cover every New York resident, regardless of wealth, income, age or health status (A.4738, Gottfried/S.4840. Rivera).

“While lawmakers in Washington debate giving tax cuts to the wealthy and cutting funding for health care for those who need it most, the Assembly Majority remains committed to ensuring every New Yorker has access to the care they need and deserve,” said Speaker Heastie. “The Assembly will once again pass this measure, but the recent action taken by Congress to strip more than one million New Yorkers of healthcare has proven it is time for our colleagues in the Senate to act as well.”

Salon: With Obamacare Under GOP Attack, New York Could Fight Back with a Single-Payer Plan

New York may be the first state to escape the Trumpcare threat by offering a single-payer option to all residents

by Amanda Marcotte, Salon, Tuesday, May 9, 2017 08:59 AM EDT

Health care activists (Credit: Getty/Kevin Hagen)

Last week the House of Representatives passed a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, cutting taxes by $1 trillion for the wealthiest Americans and potentially resulting in as many as 24 million people without health insurance by 2026. Senate Republicans are currently working on their own version of the bill, and while it’s expected to be less severe than the House plan, the end result will almost certainly be similar: tax cuts for the rich, with millions of people losing coverage.

Understandably, there’s panic across the country at the prospect of soaring premiums and loss of coverage. But while Democrats in Washington can do little to save health care when Republicans control both Congress and the White House, Democrats who hold power in state capitals can take steps to save local residents from disaster. State governments are free to offer their own health care plans — and one popular option being considered in many blue states is a single-payer, Canadian-style system, sometimes called “Medicare for all.”

New York is probably the state in the country that’s closest to creating a single-payer system, although it’s not alone. The New York Health Act, which would enroll every New Yorker in a state-run insurance program, has passed the New York State Assembly and is two votes short of being passed in the state’s Senate.

Capital Tonight re: Single-Payer and the Affordable Care Act

3/28/17, interview on Capital Tonight regarding single-payer healthcare and updates on the State budget and Federal action on healthcare.  Video here:
http://www.twcnews.com/nys/capital-region/capital-tonight-show/2017/03/28/capital-tonight-032717.html

ABC News 10 (w/ video) – NY Senate Democrats calling for proper healthcare

Nick Perrault, March 9, 2017 (video in link)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Senate Democrats in New York are calling out Republicans in their chamber for failing to act to ensure all New Yorkers have proper healthcare.

The conference introduced legislation this week they say will protect everyone.

“We are in the midst of experiencing a calamity out of Washington D.C in our country,” Senator Democratic Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, said.

TWC News (with video) – With Health Care in Upheaval in Washington, Democrats in Albany Push for Single-Payer System

By Nick Reisman (video in link), March 8

With the Affordable Care Act under fire in Washington, Democratic lawmakers in Albany are pushing for a measure creating a single-payer system — universal health care.

“We have an obligation to protect the 3.6 million New Yorkers enrolled in comprehensive health coverage enrolled through our state’s exchange,” said Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.