Healthcare is a human right. We need to create a Universal Healthcare system that covers every single person, regardless of citizenship, immigration, health, or employment status.

No one should be denied access to healthcare because they cannot afford it. Too many New Yorkers, especially the poorest and most marginalized among us, are forced to choose between rent, food, and healthcare. We must say loud and clear that healthcare is a human right and that we are going to take care of every person, regardless of health, wealth, citizenship, immigration, or employment status. It is simply a disgrace that 62% of bankruptcies are caused by medical debt and that many others avoid getting the healthcare need because of high costs, creating greater costs and emergencies in the long run. Perhaps even more of a disgrace is that we continue to ignore the inefficiencies, skyrocketing prices, and monopolistic insurance and pharmaceutical companies that continue to profit off the suffering and death of many.


The federal government continues to try and take healthcare away from 2.7 million New Yorkers while jeopardizing the lives of many more in the process. Healthcare is not a game and it is a life or death matter to millions of people who are struggling to make ends meet and just trying to be able to afford to survive.


As the richest and most powerful country in the world, we must do better. And in one of the most progressive and forward thinking cities and states in the country, we can do better.


In light of this, I vigorously support the current New York State single payer legislation, the New York Health Act, primarily championed by Assembly Member Richard Gottfried and State Senator Gustavo Rivera along with the 30 other sponsors in the State Senate. It is just one more sponsor away from receiving majority support and passing the Senate. 


A recent economic analysis of the New York Health Act from the University of Amherst shows how universal healthcare in New York would “save over $70 billion in 2019” with savings continuing to increase for the state over time.


Not only will universal health care save us money through reducing administrative waste and taking on greedy insurance and pharmaceutical companies whose only incentive is profit, but most importantly it will guarantee coverage to all New Yorkers and “save thousands of lives each year”. No one should be scared to get the care they need. We can change this.


However, we can't wait for backwards legislators in upstate New York that don't have our best interests in mind to do the right thing. We need to create this system in New York City. People are getting sick and dying every day, because they can't get the healthcare they need. We can't wait any longer.


Even businesses will benefit and be freed from the insurance-employer reliance which creates added costs for the business and higher premiums for the worker, not to mention puts workers in danger if they lose their job. Only the insurance and pharmaceutical companies benefit from the current system. Businesses could then spend more time on entrepreneurial endeavors and be lifted of the healthcare burden which weighs down too many creative and talented organizations. It is also noted that the plan would “create over 200,000 new jobs” and bring investment into New York thanks to lower hiring costs.  


Furthermore, under a single payer system, working families earning less than $75,000 would save the most, and really everyone would as the economic analysis states, “over 98% of New York households would spend less on health care under the Act than they do now.”


While the Affordable Care Act was a step in the right direction, health insurance companies still have too much power, as they try and increase health insurance costs on New Yorkers by 17%, and 4 million New Yorkers are either still uninsured or subject to becoming uninsured due to health care rollbacks on the federal level.


Together, we must continue to push for the only logical next step, universal healthcare, and join the rest of the industrialized world, save money, create a more efficient system, insure that no one dies because they can’t afford the care they need, and lead the way for the rest of our country, as we always have.  


Let’s put an end to choosing between debt and death and instead move towards a system that puts the lives and futures of people over profit.