To the editor:
(re: “Passing health care reform in New York isn’t easy,” Oct. 5)
In co-sponsoring the New York Health Act and supporting it, Sen. Jeffrey Klein is doing all New Yorkers a great service. His Point of View piece in The Riverdale Press highlights some of the problems the bill faces.
But the senator needs to make three things clear, both to his constituents and to his fellow senators.
• Under the terms of the act, Medicare will remain as it is for all senior citizens.
• The progressive taxes (based on income) imposed by the act replace the premiums and co-pays all New Yorkers currently give (privately or through employer-based health care, which also will remain in place) to insurance companies. The act will amount to a net savings to all but the richest 2 percent of the state.
That is, the increased taxes to pay for health care amount to decreased expenses for, as Klein writes, 98 percent of New Yorkers, thus actually freeing New Yorkers for investments and purchases, even as it keeps them healthy to do so.
• While Sen. Klein is correct that elected officials may feel “gun-shy” about workers in the health care industry (employed by insurance companies, hospitals and doctors to navigate the current quagmire) who may be displaced by the New York Health Act, he doesn’t take into account that the act takes the problem very seriously, and it calls for setting aside significant sums to ensure that displaced workers will have extended unemployment compensation and retraining/employment support services.
That will ensure that those employees not able to find immediate work in the health care area will be re-employed within two years. Such funding is written into the act itself.
When they balance the fact that all New Yorkers would have health care (still targeted by President Trump) without co-pays; with dental, hearing, visual care; and with freedom to choose their own doctors instead of ones within insurance company networks, those “gun-shy” senators — and their constituents — might change their minds.
Hopefully in the coming months, Sen. Klein will use his influence as head of the IDC and help get the bill through the state senate. After all, isn’t that why there’s an Independent Democratic Conference?