Health Insurance Is Important

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Remember the “death panels” we were warned about a decade ago? Well, there’s one operating behind closed doors right now that will take health insurance from tens of millions of Americans. They assure us lack of health insurance doesn’t kill—and that millionaires need massive tax cuts.
Here on Long Island, we wait—neither of our NY Senators will vote for the “Repeal and Reform” AHCA. (Representatives Peter King and Lee Zeldin each voted “aye.”)
We can, however, work to protect New Yorkers from the consequences of this deadly bill.
The New York Health Act is currently tied up in the NY Senate Healthcare Committee, chaired by NY Senator Kemp Hannon, representing Long Islanders just south of us. He is supported by our NY Senator, Elaine Phillips, whose office often doesn’t ask for the names or addresses of constituents supporting this bill “because there are so many.”
The New York Health Act (S-4840), “Medicare for All New Yorkers” has passed the NY Assembly each of the past three years. It needs the support of one more senator to have a majority in the NY Senate. Senator Phillips could be that vote—after all, she campaigned that she was far more of an independent than a Republican.
This bill would save New York State $45B per year and provide healthcare to every resident the way Medicare provides it to seniors. It also ensures greater fiscal responsibility by removing financial waste, that is, insurance profits that do not benefit health. This is NOT “socialized medicine”—any more than Medicare is—despite frenzied opposition, echoing the frenzy 50 years ago opposing Medicare.
Physicians would continue practicing as they do now—and it is likely the incomes of many physicians would rise, as significant back office costs evaporate, insurance bureaucrats no longer interfere with treatments and the fees for many patients increase.
On April 13, at a “secret” town hall in Mineola, Senator Phillips explained that she was “so new” as a senator that she’d never heard of the health bills constituents brought up, she was surprised that the audience of constituents was so loudly supportive of the NYHA (S-4840), and she would make it a priority to read and review it. To date, her office says she has not yet taken a position, just as she has put off having any town halls until “next October,” despite repeated requests. Apparently, she has taken advice from US Senator Peter King, who refuses to do town halls.
Please check out the Campaign for New York Health at www.NYHcampaign.org to see how many physicians groups, non-partisan citizens groups, unions and professional organizations endorse it.
Then please call NY Senators Phillips and Kemp to explain that New Yorkers need to be protected from what’s happening in DC. Voting in the best interests of New Yorkers will not only save buckets of money (as did Medicare, despite scare tactics), but it will save millions of lives and years of productive activity for tens of millions of New Yorkers.
The NY legislative term ends in June. Please call today.
—Judith B. Esterquest

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