Howie Hawkins: 49th Medicare Bday; Enact Single Payer

howie hawkins

(The following was originally published on Howie Hawkins’ campaign website.)

Hawkins says New York Should Adopt Single Payer, Medicare for All

(Syracuse, NY) On Medicare’s 49th birthday, Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, called for New York to enact an improved and expanded Medicare for All program, also known as single payer.

“New York must treat health care as a human right. The state’s own study showed that we would reduce overall health care costs by nearly $30 billion annually by 2019 if we had a single payer health care program rather than the insurance mandates of Obamacare,” noted Hawkins.

Vermont recently became the first state to adopt a statewide universal health care program, though it is somewhat short of a true single payer system. Obamacare does allow states to enact their own health care programs as long as coverage is at least as good. Single payer would be much better at a much cheaper cost.

Having one program pay all bills significantly reduces administrative costs – an estimated $400 billion annually if done nationally. The reduced costs and paperwork will generate enough savings to provide coverage to all residents, with no copays, deductibles or premiums. All medically necessary services would be covered.

A single payer plan (A5389 / S2078) by Assemblymember Richard Gottfried is co-sponsored by almost half of the State Assembly and 19 members of the State Senate.

Medicare / single payer is a much simpler program than Obamacare and is used by the other industrial nations, which deliver much better health care to their residents than the U.S. at about half the cost per person. Medicare was rolled out in less than a year – at a time when computers did not exist – and had a 93% participation rate when it started.

“Obamacare was written by the insurance companies and they are the prime beneficiaries. Even if Obamacare someday gets fully implemented, it will leave more than 30 million Americans without health insurance and force far more to waste money on expensive insurance that will pay only a fraction of their health care costs. New Yorkers will continue to pay far too much money for inadequate health care in order to maintain insurance and drug company profits,” said Hawkins.

Recent proposed premium hikes for NYS health insurance average in the double digits, with Excellus and MVP both seeking hikes of at least 19%.

Having a true universal health care program – which Obamacare is not – would also significantly reduce costs and premiums for other programs that are impacted by health care, such as auto insurance (i.e., bodily injury), workers comp and Medical malpractice. Single payer would also reduce the local property tax burden of paying for Medicaid and public employee health care costs.

Health care would also no longer be part of labor contract disputes with single payer. The state single payer bill has been endorsed by the NYS Nurses Association, 1199 SEIU, NYS AFL-CIO, CWA and many others, as well as a wide spectrum of health care, doctors, anti-poverty, senior and community organizations.

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