Reportedly, the New York Health Act which aims to replace employer-based private health insurance and force all New Yorkers onto a government-run healthcare plan is expected to be introduced by Senator Gustavo Rivera, chairman of the state’s Senate Health Committee.
It is not the first-time New York state lawmakers have tried to advance the legislation, but Rivera, the lead sponsor of the bill believes the timing could be right amid a more friendly administration in the White House. Although the New York Health Act is a state-level action, in order to fund the bill, it requires the federal government to grant New York a Medicaid waiver and fund a large portion of this program.
Critics of the bill say New Yorkers should be wary cautioning a government takeover of the state’s health insurance system will not only be extraordinarily costly and limit timely access to care, but note it is misguided to be pushing this legislation during a global pandemic and economic uncertainty.
On the flip side, the most ardent supporters of the Act maintain COVID-19 has made it more important than ever for the state government to directly provide guaranteed health coverage.
Rivera asserts that under a single-payer system many of his low-income constituents, in the Bronx who are more likely to be afflicted with comorbidities, have a greater risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19. He alleges a single -payer system will provide better access to health care for these vulnerable patient populations.
Much remains unclear on how this bill will foot with the No Surprise Act and the existing New York state surprise bill legislation in addition the impact on the provider community. How will the single-payor system replace the current NY state surprise bill law that deals with emergency and inadvertent services, and balance billing? Will providers feel pressured to see more patients in less time due to the cost structure of the program and be more likely to suffer from burn out? What about quality measures and quality of care? There are many more questions than answers and it behooves those impacted by these changes to stay apprised on the momentum building behind this legislation.-