Healthcare is a human right. Every New Yorker deserves affordable, quality healthcare. Although the Affordable Care Act has allowed us to make tremendous gains nationally, New York state can and should do more to expand coverage and decrease costs. We must work toward implementing an effective single-payer healthcare system in New York.
What We’ve Accomplished
This year, we did so much in the New York Senate to improve the health of all New Yorkers. We restored $415 million in Medicaid funding for hospitals and healthcare providers. We removed $113 million in cuts to public health programs and added an additional $81 million in public health funding. We reduced health care costs for low-income New Yorkers by eliminating Essential Plan premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, including dental and vision benefits. We pushed back the carveout of the Medicaid prescription drug benefit for two years to support community healthcare providers. And we expanded postpartum coverage for women on Medicaid from 60 days to one year.
Where We Need to Go
I firmly believe single-payer healthcare is still the just and right thing to do for the New York. We must pass the New York Health Act which would create a single-payer healthcare system in New York. This would create a universal public plan that covers all medically necessary services, including dental, vision, and mental health care. New Yorkers would be charged based on their ability to pay, and 98% of people would see lower premiums. In the interim, we must expand on existing programs to help every New Yorker live a healthy and dignified life.
The coronavirus pandemic is not over. And we know that more pandemics are likely in the future. But New York state and local governments have not built a strong public health system to protect us. Both the State and New York City health departments have lost many key personnel because of the way they were disrespected during this emergency. We must learn the lessons of this pandemic, put public health experts in charge and build a strong defense against future pandemics.