Officials asked to support single-payer health plan in state
KINGSTON, N.Y. » Common Council members are being asked to support a proposal for universal health care coverage in New York state.
The request for a memorializing resolution was made at a council meeting Wednesday.
Supporters said municipalities offer a strong platform that could help convince state lawmakers to adopt the New York Health Act, a bill that has failed repeatedly since 2015 because the Republican-led state Senate has declined to let the bill out of committee for a vote.
In the proposed Senate version of the legislation, officials wrote that “there would be no network restrictions, deductibles, or co-pays. Coverage would be publicly funded. The benefits will include comprehensive outpatient and inpatient medical care, primary and preventive care, prescription drugs, laboratory tests, rehabilitative, dental, vision, hearing, etc. — all benefits required by current state insurance law or provided by the state public employee package, Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus, Medicare, or Medicaid, and others added by the plan.”
Speaking before the Common Council, Dr. Randall Rissam said, “Since I graduated medical school 41 years ago, we were talking about wouldn’t it be nice if we could just treat everybody and treat everybody the same and give them good health care? Doctors still feel that way.”
Rissman added that “this is a moral and ethical imperative to give care to ev-
erybody . ... The amount of money and waste that goes off the top of the health care dollar by insurance companies,
the pharmaceutical industries, the suppliers is astronomical. We can do a better job with this.”
Rissman said every doctor knows “people who have been hard hit or died because they didn’t have good health care.”
Resident Paul Cooper said a state health care program would be particularly important to people stricken with illnesses that are expensive to treat.
“My granddaughter ... was born with a very rare blood disorder,” he said.
“Once or twice a year she gets an infectious disease like the flu and she ends up in the hospital getting blood transfusions . ... What’s going to happen when, with the help of God, she reaches the age when she outgrows her parents’ health care
Cooper said the political climate has led to an “institutionalization of callousness and cruelty” and people cannot have faith that elected officials will allow people to maintain coverage for pre-existing conditions.
A resolution supporting the proposed law was adopted by Saugerties town officials in June, with officials writing that it would provide a comprehensive system of access to health care.