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BALCONY Radio interview

I spoke to the Business and Labor Coalition of NY on WOR 710 AM radio, regarding the new administration’s threats to the Affordable Care Act, and the need for a universal, single-payer healthcare system: (segment starts at 23 minutes).

City & State: Health care: Rigged against working people

By Richard N. Gottfried, 1/15/17

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried

There’s almost nothing more rigged against working people – or hits them harder in the wallet – than health care. And it’s a life-or-death issue. To make government more responsive to the needs of working- and middle-class people, and treat them with respect and fairness, health care is the place for New York to start.

While we try to stop Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress from degrading Medicaid and Medicare and wrecking the Affordable Care Act, we can work in New York to build a system that serves all of us.

Health care represents almost one-fifth of the economy, and an even a larger part of working people’s income. People are at the mercy of health insurance companies. Rising premiums, deductibles and co-pays; restricted provider networks; and out-of-network charges are real obstacles to health care and family financial stability. Each year, one in three families with private health insurance has someone put off care due to cost, usually for a serious medical condition.

North Country Now: North Country assemblywoman supportive of more than 300 healthcare demonstrators who marched in Canton on Sunday

January 16, 2017

CANTON — Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresa, says the turnout in Canton this weekend for a march to protest the Affordable Care Act is “a demonstration of support for a health care system that provides access to quality health care for all Americans.”

“The Affordable Care Act has provided millions of additional Americans with health care coverage and has also meant that more patients being treated at our financially-strapped rural hospitals have insurance coverage aiding those institutions’ bottom lines,” a news release from her office says.

She said health care costs were “skyrocketing” before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law.

Times-Union: N.Y. reps urge keeping women’s health mandates under Obamacare

By Claire Hughes, 1/11/17

A state legislative proposal requiring health insurers in New York to cover contraception without co-payments, now mandated by Obamacare, has been reintroduced by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman as Republicans in Congress seek to undo the federal law.

Also Wednesday, in Washington U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, urged federal lawmakers to keep the no-cost contraceptive provisions of the law, formally the Affordable Care Act, along with access to mammograms and cervical cancer screenings. Gillibrand has filed an amendment to the federal 2017 budget that would retain these parts of the law.

Times-Union – Steck: Single payer state health plan could offset Obamacare cuts

By Rick Karlin, 1/7/17

Going to a statewide single-payer health insurance program could offset the financial hit facing New York state if Congress does away with the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Assemblyman Phil Steck said during a town hall-type meeting on Saturday.

Steck, a Democrat whose 110th district includes Colonie and Schenectady, compared his vision of a statewide system to Medicare. “The most efficient health provider in the U.S. is Medicare,” he said, citing the low overhead and administrative costs with that national plan for those 65 and older.

 His remarks came during a wide-ranging open house during which several dozen constituents, braving an 18-degree morning, crammed into his small Schenectady office.

State of Politics: Assembly Health Chair Raises Concerns With Trump Impact

By Nick Reisman, 12/14/16

The longtime chairman of the Assembly Health Committee on Wednesday released a lengthy essay on the potential impacts on health-care policy by the incoming Donald Trump presidential administration.

Those concerns raised by Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat, range from the new federal administration gutting medical marijuana laws on the state level, scaling back benefits for Medicaid recipients and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which could blow a $2 billion hole in the state budget.

“The first step in stopping or reversing these attacks is to clearly understand what’s at stake and spread the word,” Gottfried wrote in the statement released by his office. “There is hardly anything more rigged against working people than health care. The Trump-Republican agenda will make it worse.

Gottfried’s solution to bolster health care in New York under Trump is his long-stalled proposal for universal coverage in New York through a single-payer system.

“Instead of regressive premiums, deductibles, co-pays and out-of-network charges, it would be funded fairly through broad-based taxes based on ability to pay,” Gottfried wrote. “The Assembly passed the bill in 2015 and 2016 – helping to move it from being “a great idea that could never happen” to something really achievable. In 2017, we will continue to work to build public support so it can ultimately pass the Senate.”

What the New Administration in Washington Means for  Health Policy in New York

By Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried

The election of Donald Trump and Republican control of Congress are a serious threat to programs and policies that protect our health.  Washington could make radical changes to Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, reproductive care, and other programs that could drastically undermine our right to health care, cost New York State billions of dollars a year in federal funds, and destabilize health care providers.

The first step in stopping or reversing these attacks is to clearly understand what’s at stake and spread the word.  There is hardly anything more rigged against working people than health care.  The Trump-Republican agenda will make it worse.  This is a time to redouble efforts in more progressive states like New York to create universal access to health care, with funding based fairly on ability to pay, through an “improved Medicare for all” system.

For years, congressional attacks on funding and programs have been defeated by the threat or use of presidential vetoes.  Now we will have a president who may be leading the charge.

Gannett – Repeal of Obamacare could bust New York’s budget

By Joe Spector, 11/11 (via WGRZ)

ALBANY — President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act could have steep fiscal implications for New York, which has 3.3 million people enrolled in its health exchange.

Since New York’s health exchange launched under so-called Obamacare in 2013, Medicaid recipients rapidly increased as millions of low-income New Yorkers signed up for health care.

The federal government subsidized much of the cost, and last year New York launched a new program, the Essential Plan — an off-shoot of Medicaid that in part provides coverage to immigrants otherwise ineligible — that has seen its enrollment soar.

The state Budget Division estimated that the federal subsidies for the Essential Plan alone this year would exceed $1 billion, which could be wiped out under Trump’s proposals.

Times-Union – End of Obamacare Could Cost New York $850M

By Claire Hughes, 11/10

President-elect Donald Trump‘s intention to repeal and replace the federal Affordable Care Act could affect New York’s budget, to the tune of at least $850 million a year.

Billions more are at stake if a Trump administration and Republican-led Congress stop funding the expansion of Medicaid under the 2010 law, the signature health policy of President Barack Obama known as Obamacare.

Other Republican reforms could impact what New Yorkers pay for health insurance, whether they are individuals buying policies on the state’s Obamacare website, NY State of Health, or workers who get coverage through their employers.

A full repeal of the law may not be that easy, at least under current congressional rules, but changes that affect the federal budget could be made through the reconciliation process. Republicans have already tried to alter the law through that method, but have had their bills vetoed by President Obama. President-elect Trump would likely sign off on such measures, said Richard Nathan, who directs the ACA Implementation Research Network at the Rockefeller Institute of Governmentin Albany.

At a minimum, the state would lose a large portion of the estimated $850 million in federal assistance for offering what in New York is called the Essential Plan, according to state Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan. The Essential Plan offers health coverage with no deductible for $20 a month to low income New Yorkers who do not qualify for Medicaid.

Politico NY: Calling for state action, advocates highlight immigrant health care dilemma

By Dan Goldberg, 3/1/16

Ana Rodriguez was thrilled when she first received health insurance through New York state’s Medicaid program.

It made her feel just like everyone else, said Rodriguez, who was brought to Miami from the Dominican Republic when she was 6 years old.

Her immigration status kept her from obtaining a Florida driver’s license, which made commuting a hassle, so at age 24 she moved to New York, which had a more accessible public transportation system, and where, thanks to a New York court ruling, she was able to enroll in Medicaid, the health insurance program for low-income residents.