Single Payer for New York

The New York Times, December 23, 2013

To the Editor:

Re “Under Health Law, Independent Practitioners in City Face Canceled Policies” (news article, Dec. 14):

The Affordable Care Act makes important repairs to our broken health care system. The problem is that it leaves insurance companies in charge — with high premiums, high deductibles and co-pays; too much control over which doctors or hospitals we can go to and what care they can provide; and high administrative costs.

The exchanges are complicated because the system requires means-testing to see who is eligible for Medicaid or subsidies, and then requires people to select from multiple plans.

We could cover everyone, provide better coverage and save billions through publicly sponsored, single-payer health coverage, like an improved version of Medicare for everyone — and no insurance companies.

Washington might not be ready to act, but individual states have long been the “laboratories of democracy.” New York can do better.

Richard N. Gottfried

New York, Dec. 14, 2013

(The writer, chairman of the New York State Assembly Health Committee, is the author of a bill in the New York Legislature to establish a state single-payer health plan.)…

A.5389/S.2078, New York Health – an act to establish a single payer health program:

As the Affordable Care Act unfolds it becomes all too obvious that the repairs in our system of financing health care are falling far too short of the goals of universality, affordability, administrative simplicity, and accessibility with free choice of hospitals and health care professionals. Clearly we need a single payer system that would easily achieve these goals. New York, with the leadership of Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, has joined other states in attempting to enact a state-based single payer system.

What we desperately need is a federal government that partners with states – all states – in enacting legislation that will bring single payer to all of us. With the surge in a renewed interest in single payer, we need grassroots and coalition efforts to be sure that people understand the single payer approach and then will demand it when they go to vote. Let’s pull out all stops between now and next November.