Assemblywoman Jenne: New York Health Act Would Benefit North Country Families

May 17, 2017

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresa, supported legislation that passed the state Assembly Tuesday that would ensure access to quality, affordable health care for hardworking New Yorkers (A.4738).

“No matter what happens in Washington, North Country families deserve the safety and security of health insurance that meets their needs without bankrupting them,” Assemblywoman Jenne said. “This legislation provides a cost-efficient plan to protect all New Yorkers’ health.”

She pointed out experts have said the legislation that passed in the House of Representatives would result in many Northern New Yorkers losing their coverage and a significant loss in revenue for rural hospitals that are already fiscally stressed.

The New York Health Act would establish a single-payer health care system within the state, expanding coverage to include all residents regardless of wealth, income, age or pre-existing conditions.

The bill's sponsor said a fiscal analysis has projected the single-payer system would result in gross savings of $71 billion, with two-thirds of those savings coming from administrative costs and insurance company profits. That analysis has projected 98 percent of New Yorkers would spend less than they currently spend on health care under the new plan that would be a progressively graduated tax applied to income.

The measure offers an array of benefits, including inpatient and outpatient care, maternity care and prescription drug costs. Employers would no longer be responsible for paying expensive premiums, co pays, or deductibles and wouldn’t have to deal with the often burdensome administration of health plans, according to the assemblywoman.

“No matter your income or pre-existing conditions, no one should be barred from receiving the care they need. Health care isn’t something that should be reserved for a few. It’s a right that should be accessible to all,” Assemblywoman Jenne said.

Current efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act at the federal level threaten New Yorkers. If repealed and replaced, the move could eliminate health care coverage for more than 2 million New Yorkers, disproportionately affecting those with low incomes. The repeal could also eliminate an estimated $3.7 billion from the state’s health budget and pull $600 million in federal funding from counties, including those in the North Country.

“When you don’t have coverage, you’re not able to take the steps to get screened and prevent health issues early on,” Assemblywoman Jenne said. “Your health becomes low priority when you’re struggling to make ends meet, and it perpetuates a dangerous cycle. This plan would mean better care and better health for all of us.”

She noted this is the third consecutive year the state Assembly has passed the single-pay healthcare system. Assemblywoman Jenne urged her colleagues in the state Senate to pass the legislation in light of the current threat to access to basic healthcare for state residents.

"I believe it is crucial that New York does whatever it can to lower the price of admission for basic healthcare. If the New York Health Act was signed into law, there would be no deductibles, no co-pays, and it would promote increased access to medical providers," she said.

"The benefits would include comprehensive outpatient and inpatient medical care, primary and preventive care, prescription drugs, laboratory tests, rehabilitative services, dental, vision, hearing, and other necessary medical services," according to Assemblywoman Jenne.

"By joining millions of New Yorkers on one plan, we will have more leverage to negotiate lower prices with drug companies and service providers. It’s well known that big companies have lower healthcare costs than small, local businesses. If we make this plan a reality the entire state of New York will be the biggest company with the lowest healthcare costs," she said.