Letter to the Editor: Democrats’ Refusal to Pass the New York Health Act is Baffling

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Another year has gone by without Democrats passing the New York Health Act. This is a massive betrayal by Democrats in Albany and a fraud that is being perpetrated against the public. 

For years, Democrats in the Assembly have voted on and passed the New York Health Act knowing that the Senate would not do so. A few years ago, we were told that we had to organize and defeat the Independent Democratic Conference. We did that. Still no Senate vote on the New York Health Act. Then we were told that Democrats simply needed to win a majority in the Senate. We did that. Then, suddenly, a few folks that had co-sponsored the bill in the past withdrew their support, and others who ran on passing the bill decided that they no longer supported it.

Democrats now have a supermajority in the Senate and a majority of senators are co-sponsoring the bill. This means the bill had the votes to pass, but the Democratic leadership, including Assemblyman Carl Heastie, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Gov. Cuomo are refusing to allow the bill to even be voted on.

A universal health care system, which is what this bill would create in New York, is overwhelmingly supported by Democratic voters. It also has a clear majority of support from among all voters. If Democrats cannot be relied on to pass, or even vote on, bills that have overwhelming support from their voters, what is the point of electing Democrats in the first place?

Democratic officials often bristle at the accusation that their party is the lesser of two evils, but when they behave in this way, they are making the argument themselves. It should not be this hard to pass popular progressive legislation when the supposedly progressive party controls all the levers of power in Albany.

Whose side are they on, the people or the health insurance companies?

Ron Widelec
Rye Brook

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