On May 16th, Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie announced the passage of a universal “Improved Medicare For All,” single-payer health plan that would cover New Yorker’s regardless of wealth, income, age or health status. Called the New York Health Plan, (Assembly Bill A-05062 A) reflects the efforts of Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried, representing the 75th Assembly District, covering large areas of midtown Manhattan.
The publicly funded coverage would include no network restrictions, deductibles or co-pays, and funding would be based on a shared 80/20 percent employer/employee contribution system. The plan abolishes all private insurance plans while expanding coverage of the uninsured. According to the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, a Texas-based free market think tank, the price tag for the plan could be as high as $226 billion, quadrupling the current tax burden in New York. A second estimate, $90 billion partly paid for by increasing state payroll taxes.
Assuming there will be no Republican votes for this legislation, passing the single-payer plan in the state Senate would require all Democrats to vote “yes.” Advocates claim health care is a basic right and every New Yorker’ should have access to quality health care services, regardless of their ability to pay. Speaker Carl Heastie further adds that while lawmakers in Washington debate giving tax credits to the wealthy and cutting funding for health care, the assembly “will continue to build support for universal health care in the face of the Trump agenda.” Note: The NY Post reports the new plan would seek federal permission to take over Medicare, Medicaid, the Veteran’s Administration and every other form of coverage and reconfirms private insurance would be eliminated.