Friends and I met with Senator Betty Little to address a problem for citizens in our district with the imminent repeal of the ACA and with the hope that she would support the solution, which lies within the New York Health Bill. It passed the Assembly three times, but needs one more senator to bring it to a vote.
S4840 is the most important and consequential legislation ever set before Senator Little. Millions of New Yorkers, particularly the poorest in counties in our district, will benefit with its passing. In three counties poverty is near or above 20 percent (U.S. Census); people will lose Medicaid benefits with the ACA repeal.
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We noted the comprehensive study of the New York Health Act by Prof. Gerald Friedman, chair of the Economics Department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. New York Health would save $71 billion a year; $26.5 billion by eliminating private health insurance administration and profit; $20.7 billion by reducing health care provider administration of insurance claims; $2 billion by eliminating employer administration of health benefits; $5.4 billion reducing fraudulent billing; $16.3 billion by capturing savings from overpriced drugs and medical devices.
The state funds 25 percent of Medicaid costs at the county level through property taxes. Albany City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar’s study found that local property taxes would go down by at least 30 percent. The new system would also save on health care for municipal employees. This benefits people on fixed incomes and farmers who may have large properties but not fluid cash income. Senator Little offered no monetary argument against the bill other than repeating, “It will cost too much.” The fiscal concerns have been abated. Morally, how can she not sponsor the bill? That one more sponsor could be Senator Little. Dare she place people over party?
Agata Stanford, Glens Falls