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True Single-Payer Healthcare System Being Considered in New York Assembly

From Truthout

New York State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who represents the Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen sections of Manhattan (D-75th District), has introduced a bill to implement a true single-payer healthcare system in New York State. Although the legislation made it out of the healthcare committee of the Assembly last year, it then was basically stonewalled from going much further.

Gottfried, chair of the health committee, told BuzzFlash at Truthout, the bill was re-introduced at the beginning of this session on January 8th of 2014.

What makes Gottfried’s bill distinct is that it would — if implemented in its ideal configuration — be a true single-payer healthcare system for all New Yorkers (except Veterans, who receive care through a government-administered system of providers employed by the Veterans Administration.)

This differs from what is called the Vermont “single-payer” system, which is a laudable one coming down the pike. But the Vermont healthcare insurance program would more accurately be called a comprehensive coverage system than a true single-payer.

Gottfried’s bill (2078A) would create the New York Health Trust Fund and all New Yorkers — in theory — (except veterans) would eventually receive care through the fund. They would carry a “New York Health” card for all their medical needs. Although still far from being enacted, what would make Gottfried’s bill a near seamless single-payer, if passed and implemented in its ideal form, is that the federal government would (and that is something, alas, unlikely to see for the time being given current DC private insurance control of politicians) pay Medicare and other federal programs directly into the state health insurance program. (Medicaid is already paid to states to administer the program within each state — but Gottfried’s bill would make Medicaid party of the pool of money funding “New York Health.”) There are still some gaps and exceptions that would be closed at a later time were the bill ever to be passed and the feds were to provide waivers, but it puts the first stage of a state single-payer on the map of consideration even if it is a political long shot.

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