By Madeline Zevon
The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government and works to increase understanding of major public policy through education and advocacy. The League has advocated on behalf of all New Yorkers for over 20 years on the issues of health care. The League believes that affordable, quality health care should be available to all New York State residents and that health care policies should include equitable distribution of services and the efficient and economical delivery of care.
As long as private health insurance corporations are the middleman between patients and providers, services will not be distributed in an equitable manner. Persons who are less likely to need care will have greater access to coverage, while those who are in need will go without. We believe that the way to achieve substantial and lasting reductions in the cost of care is to adopt a single-payer system such as New York Health.
In a single-payer system of publicly financed, privately delivered health care for all New York State residents, citizens will decide the level of basic care. Under the single-payer model, every New York resident would be eligible to enroll. There would be no premiums deductibles, or co-payment. Coverage would be funded based on ability to pay through a progressively graduated state payroll tax and taxable non-payroll (investment) income. Federal funds now received for Medicare, Medicaid, Family Health Plus and Child Health Plus would be combined with state revenue in a New York Health Trust Fund. The “local share” of Medicaid funding—a major burden on local property taxes—would be ended. It is projected that New York State would save $11.4 billion under a single-payer system according to the RAND Corporation.
All New Yorkers would be covered for all medically necessary services, including: primary preventive, specialists, hospital, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drugs, and medical supply costs. In January 2019 the act was amended to include long-term care—the bill is more comprehensive than most commercial health plans.
Here, in New York, we have the opportunity to lead the way in implementing cost-effective, universal health care, effectively making health care a right for all New Yorkers.
–Madeline Zevon, Co-Chair Health Care, League of Women Voters of New York State
This article is a shortened version of a testimony Madeline Zevon delivered to a hearing of the New York State Health Committee on May 28 in Albany.