Memo of Support: The New York Health Act (A6058/S5474)

Posted September 30, 2021 by Amanda Dunker

Health Care for All New York (HCFANY) is a statewide coalition of over 170 consumer- focused organizations dedicated to achieving quality, affordable health coverage for all New Yorkers, and ensuring that the concerns of real New Yorkers are heard and reflected in policy conversations. We support A6058/S5474 which would provide all New Yorkers with health insurance under a single-payer system. 

Health coverage reduces mortality and morbidity and greatly reduces poverty.1 However, under the current system, New Yorkers report struggling to afford care even when they have health insurance. In a statewide survey from 2019, over 50 percent of New Yorkers with insurance indicated that they had experienced a medical affordability burden in the prior year, including forgoing visits to the doctor, cutting their pills, or paying for care through a credit card.2 

Our current patchwork health care system that relies on onerous cost-sharing and deductibles unnecessarily pits providers against their patients. For example, over 50,000 New Yorkers have been sued by New York’s non-profit hospitals since 2015 because they could not pay their medical bills.3 Medical debt disproportionately affects low-income communities and communities of color.4 Thousands of others have had their wages garnished or had liens placed on their homes exacerbating deleterious social determinants of health. 

Moreover, New York’s current healthcare system precludes the inclusion of residents based upon their immigration status. The New York Health Act would include all state residents, including immigrants ensuring a more egalitarian society. 

The New York Health Act would promote health equity and improve economic security by covering all New Yorkers and eliminating the growing problem of under-insurance that leads patients to avoid care or risk their financial health. 

HCFANY strongly supports the New York Health Act for those reasons.