NY is on the verge of switching to single-payer health care, then special interests crushed it


Many New Yorkers expected this to be the year New York finally spent the “New York Health Act. “

30 years after its introduction, the prospect that the state realizes the possibilities of single payer health care free from corporate influence enough voices to pass.

But if New Yorkers think for-profit insurance companies, lobbyists, and even some unions are planning to loosen their grip on the status quo, they’re about to be disappointed again.

Buckling up to the pressure of special interests, New York lawmakers allowed the legislative session to end on Thursday without a vote for or against.

Despite the need for unions to represent the needs of public sector workers and most The massive support of the Americans for a national health system, union leaders were dismiss calls for single-payer healthcare.

Last month, the New York City Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) wrote a letter to President Carl Heastie to “register our vigorous objection to the New York Health Act 2021,” which States:

“To avoid any misunderstanding, the MLC supports universal health coverage. But, as we have stated repeatedly in previous attempts to pursue a single-payer system in New York City, alongside wages, the New York worker health care program is of importance. primordial. “

This “paramount importance” implies negotiations for better and cheaper health coverage and past salary increase sacrifices that single-payer health care would supposedly cancel out.

Anti-NYHA group “Realities of the Single Payer»Coordinated with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) in a open letter to the state legislature urging lawmakers to oppose the bill.

Colorado SEIU recently “expressed serious concerns and strong opposition regarding Bill 21-1232, which would create a new state government controlled health insurance system, known as the state government option, ‘leading the state legislature to pass a bill to create a public option in two years if private insurers refuse to reduce premiums by 15%.

However, healthcare providers will not be required to accept insurance, so the caveat is not applicable.

Nevada’s largest union, Culinary Workers Local 226, made headlines during the 2020 presidential campaign with its vociferous vociferations opposition at Vt. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-All proposal.

However, not all unions are against it.

Some notables supporters are 1199 Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a union of health care workers, and the New York State Nurses Association.

If there is anything the coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic fiasco has revealed, it is our societal inequalities.

The most obvious inequity in public health is that we spend the most money on health care –20% of our national income– any Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country on the planet, yet we are not the healthiest country.

Most countries provide health care as a human right for all its citizens.

But of the 25 richest nations, the United States is the only one who fails to do this.

The response of opponents to a Medicare-for-All-type national single-payer health system similar to what Canada practices is “We can’t afford it” or “How do we pay for it?

This question is rarely, if ever, asked, however, whenever we feel the need to increase the military budget, print money to provide 2,000 billion dollars in economic relief at keep businesses afloat, perpetually distributes subsidies to the most profitable companies in the world, or to permanently reduce the taxes of these same companies and their overlords to the tune of $ 1.5 trillion.

Those who complain “We can’t afford it” are often the same ones who also brag about being the richest nation in the world.

But they cannot have it both ways.

The “We can’t afford it” argument is, of course, a lie.

We have always had the means to provide every man, woman and child born in this country with health care as a human right.

A report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) at the end of last year illustrates that, not only could we still afford it, Medicare-for-All could cost even less than what the most ardent advocates of Medicare-for- All.

Of the many single-payer models investigated by researchers, four fully implemented by 2030 would prevent the country from $ 42 billion to $ 743 billion just that year.

The model closest to the Medicare-for-All framework that most advocates support is based on low payment rates and low cost sharing, producing 650 billion dollars in savings in 2030.

Right now, combining Medicare, Medicaid, insurance premiums, and out-of-pocket expenses, we should be spending about $ 52 trillion on health care over the next decade.

But Medicare-for-All would have eliminate premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, reducing the price to between $ 20 trillion and $ 36 trillion during the same period.

This happens to be same quantity the federal government has put corporate welfare aside since 2008.

After the financial crash of 2008, we granted 700 billion dollars to the big banks.

The Federal Reserve has committed between $ 16 trillion and $ 29 trillion to large financial institutions.

Lawmakers recently handed over $ 4 trillion in pandemic assistance to large businesses.

Over the past twelve years, we have spent in the neighborhood between $ 20-35 trillion in corporate bailouts.

Three years ago, Republicans jumped at the chance to quote a Brothers Koch-funded Mercatus Center study prove once and for all that single-payer healthcare costs too much, despite its economic benefits and popularity among the public and American lawmakers.

David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler, health policy experts and co-founders of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), Explain:

“The Mercatus Center estimate of the cost of implementing Senator Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for All-Act projects dramatically increases the use of medical care, ignores huge savings from single-payer reform and doesn’t even mention documented evidence of single-payer systems in other countries, all of which spend far less per person on health care than we do. [The] report underestimates administrative savings of over $ 8.3 trillion over 10 years. Taking these savings into account would reduce Blahous’ estimate from $ 32.6 trillion to $ 24.3 trillion. “

These administrative savings could begin by eliminating or drastically reducing the overhead costs generated by medical billing, on which the United States spend twice as much like Canada.

How many savings?

About $ 89 billion one year.

Another component: salaries and marketing expenses.

Mutuals are basically just banks on which insurers spend more than 20% of total overhead expenses.

Medicare, on the other hand, spends about 2%.

Moving everyone from private for-profit health insurance to universal health insurance would save around $ 200 billion in overhead costs alone.

But what about taxes? Would they not skyrocket?

Think about every time we visit a doctor (including via telemedicine) or a walk-in clinic.

While we are fortunate to have employer-sponsored health care for which we pay premiums, we are also responsible for co-payments, which can vary, sometimes considerably, from person to person depending on the circumstances. types of plans offered by employers.

These bonuses and co-payments are functionally taxes even though we are not used to seeing them as such.

In a Medicare-for-All-type system, we would all be–ALL-pay premiums already billed by health insurance, without co-payment or deductible.

This would bring 210 billion dollars in turnover.

We are currently providing grants for two insurance columns: plans provided by employer and those offered by private insurers through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (TO THAT); aka “Obamacare”.

A single-payer model would reduce it to one, save around $ 161 billion.

Employers would no longer have to factor health insurance coverage into their books, saving them millions.

Unions would no longer have to negotiate health care coverage and costs with management.

We could see any doctor at any time without having to worry about the cost.

A hospital stay wouldn’t put people in debt.

No more “surprise invoices. “

The neoliberal turn of the last forty years has given priority to Wall Street, the defense industry and, in general, any individual or company sufficiently ideologically committed to capitalize on it. the argument “money = freedom of speech” the Supreme Court agreed is constitutional.

This includes health insurance companies.

More Americans are in favor of a national single-payer health care system now than ever before, and they’re fed up (no pun intended) of sacrificing their sovereignty and security so that another obscenely wealthy CEO can squeeze them another billion dollars in deferred tax compensation.

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