Metro Justice Healthcare Committee, which is the Rochester branch of the Campaign for New York Health, held their December meeting at Equal Grounds Cafe to welcome new members into the fight for single-payer healthcare in New York! They learned about the New York Health Act, and the next steps to achieve universal health care in our state. Happy holidays are even happier knowing that we have a fighting chance to get the New York Health Act up for a vote next year!
Here is an email exchange sparked by the meeting.
If you care about universal health care in NY, then this a group that you should support and join if you able and willing.
It was great to see everyone last night! For those of you who are new, here are the answers to some of the questions that came up:
The New York Health Campaign is the statewide group supporting the bill, and their site iswww.nyhcampaign.org. You can find the text of the bill, an economic analysis from 2015 that gives a sense of some of the ramifications, and a lot of information about the organization and events coming up.
Governor Cuomo’s office phone number is 1-518-474-8390. Feel free to contact him any time, but please do call this week and let him know that you support the New York Health Act.
I had mentioned a phone tree – that’s the set-up where any one person only needs to call 2-3 others, whom you can get to know a bit and have in your contacts list, so that no one needs to call 40 people. If you would be willing to pass on messages about occasional (no more than 1/month) important or time-sensitive events, and you did not sign up last night, send me your phone number and I will put together the tree and get back to you with your phone tree buddies.
We do have a google group, which is the other major way that the Rochester group (we call ourselves RocCNYH) keeps in contact. I think that it should be possible to find and join it by signing into groups.google.com, searching for “RocCNYH” and then clicking “join” or “apply to join”. But having already done so myself, when I do that search it just gives me a bunch of messages. So let me know if that works or not!
That’s where we’ll be posting the specific information about the January post-state-of-state-speech event.
I’d say that’s enough for one e-mail! We’ll stay in touch.
I’ve been looking into the New York Health Bill but I can’t seem to find the financial details. Yes, there seem to be savings over what exists now but where is the info of:
1. How will it be funded?
2. Will there be additional taxes to fund it?
3. I understand the savings from elimination of private insurance, but will companies have to provide coverage or will all coverage be provided by State monies?
Basically, my concern is: can the State Treasury cover the costs.? The Feds, thy can always print more money, but joy NY State.
First, the bill does not in fact include financial details, since those will in turn depend on many details that can really only be addressed when the bill actually comes up for debate. It does broadly require that the funding (besides the large components from Medicare, Medicaid and a few other federal and state programs) come from two sources, both based on individual income. First, the funding that is currently provided through employers and employees by means of employer-based insurance policies will be replaced by a single similarly shared (80% employer, 20% employee, same as the current requirement) payroll tax. This means that every company, rather than just those who feel it worth their while, could be on the hook. One of the details needing to be worked out will be whether small family companies might have different requirements than large companies that tend to hire lots of minimum wage employees (who will likely have very small or zero premiums). The other new insurance-premium-replacement tax would be on dividends and capital gains for those people whose income (typically fairly large) comes from those sources. The exact rules for both of those funding sources were left up to state congress and to the committee that will be tasked with designing the precise funding stream (the first year’s work when the bill is passed).
There are now several analyses that flesh out some of those possible details, one done by an economics professor at Amherst in 2015 (http://www.infoshare.org/main/Economic_Analysis_New_York_Health_Act_-_GFriedman_-_April_2015.pdf), which recommends having companies and employees pay nothing for the first $25,000 of employee income, and then a gradually increasing proportion rising to 16% of whatever income is in excess of $200,000. Another analysis was presented by a right-leaning think tank in 2017 (which naturally disagreed with Friedman on whether there would be savings) and a third done by the Rand Corporation last year. That third one is the least partisan of the three, and it concludes that roughly 98% of New York state residents would likely pay less than they do now for health care, the top 2% paying more and for a few very wealthy people considerably more.
In any case, the money that everyone would pay would be taken out of paychecks or charged against capital gains like taxes, and are usually referred to as taxes (especially by conservatives!) though in fact they are replacements for the premiums, deductibles and copays we currently pay.
And all coverage (including for lawmakers) will be provided by the single program, into which all employers will pay on whatever basis is finally agreed on. Having only one system will not only save on duplication of effort, it will also make it much easier to focus on specific problems like the opioid crisis, where each coverage rule only needs to be made once, instead of having to work through multiple insurance companies.
The bill also requires that overage will need to at least equal current civil service coverage (i.e. match whatever government employees currently receive).
Hope that helps!