It's time to save health care


To the editor:

Maurice Chevalier famously sang, “I’m so glad I’m not young anymore.” He was referring to one kind of heart trouble: amours.

But if you are 62 and have another kind of heart problem from birth — say, a “heart murmur” (as a mitral valve prolapse is often called) — young is not better in America. Being older than 65 brings Medicare coverage.

In fact, you might be consumed with worry at 26 (the reverse of 62) if you have a murmur — facing a lifelong pre-existing condition and about to lose coverage under your parents’ health care policy. That off-switch might change your career choice.

Your idea for an important documentary film, your tech start-up to help grandma, your desire to become (and son) with your dad’s small business: All impossible, no health coverage. You would be limited to increasingly fewer jobs providing comprehensive, affordable health care — and hope you keep that job.

Our current health care system is broken. We pay for high administrative costs, wasteful bureaucracy, and record-setting profits. Despite this, insurance premiums are skyrocketing while policies have ever-increasing deductibles and co-pays, and ever-smaller networks. Insurers won’t pay unless we overcome prior-authorization denials for treatment and medication.

The latest salvo? The Trump administration seeks to make “short-term, limited-duration insurance” long-term. Anything to destroy Obamacare protections.

Good news: The New York Health Act will save New Yorkers money over our current system — so says the prestigious Rand Corp., long-respected for its corporate centrism. Their Aug. 1 report validated the legislation’s affordability — funding “improved Medicare to all” with progressive tax based on income.

The report concluded that for almost all New Yorkers (95 percent), the New York Health tax will cost less than they pay for health care in the current (broken) system.

Even better: Rand concludes that New York State can include long-term care with New York Health and still save us money — all while covering primary, preventive, specialists, hospital, mental health, reproductive health, dental vision, hearing, prescription drugs lab tests and medical tests, mental health, and evidence-based substance abuse treatment.

Alessandra Biaggi, running for the state senate, supports New York Health, because no one should choose between medical care for a relative and financial ruin — and because it is a fiscally conservative approach to health care. Her website is clear about it, and immediately upon hearing about the Rand report, she sent around a tweet.

Though he has endorsed the legislation, Sen. Jeffrey Klein rarely speaks of it or defends it. Call his office. Ask him how much he cares about his constituents. 

Then be sure to vote on Thursday, Sept. 13’s primary.

Sandra Prosnitz

Sandra Prosnitz,