Gottfried: New Study 'Dramatically' Changes Single-Payer Debate

Gottfried: New Study 'Dramatically' Changes Single-Payer Debate

Gottfried: New Study 'Dramatically' Changes Single-Payer Debate
March 10, 2015

After traveling around the state promoting his push for a single-payer health care system, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried on Tuesday said a new study found that the state would save billions it switched to single-payer system, adding that the report “dramatically” changes the debate on health care.

Gottfried’s bill, the New York Health Act, has been introduced into the Assembly in some version since 1999, but it has never gone to the floor for a vote. Gottfried this year has renewed his push for a single-payer system.

“Every New York family can say, ‘Where is my $2,200 dollars [in savings from single-payer]? Where is the savings that 98 percent of us would see in our bank accounts if Albany would pass the New York Health Act?’” Gottfried said during a conference call. “Now that we’ve got these concrete numbers of $45 billion in net savings, I think that dramatically changes the politics of the New York Health Act.”

The study conducted by UMass Amherst Economics Department Chair Gerald Friedman found that along with saving residents a total of $45 billion in the first year, a single-payer health system would provide savings to 98 percent of New Yorkers, prevent 14,000 deaths by providing universal access to healthcare and spur the creation of 200,000 new jobs.

The bill does not have much support in the Republican-controlled state Senate, where Health Committee Chair Kemp Hannon called the concept “interesting,” but has said he has concerns about switching to single payer.

 “The major difficulty of [single-payer] is the federal government has the rules for two of the biggest sources of medical payment in the state: Medicare and Medicaid,” Hannon told City & State in November. “Now, the challenge then if you want to change the system is, ‘How do you get the federal government to change their Medicaid and Medicare and not scare the population that’s being covered by Medicare—senior citizens—and Medicaid?’”

Sen. Bill Perkins, co-sponsor of the New York Health Act, said there is much work to do to promote the bill, but also said support is growing around the state. In the state Senate, there are 18 co-sponsors of the bill.

“We have work to do to get our colleagues on the Republican side to provide some leadership,” Perkins said. “Of course, if the Governor was invested as well I think we’d have a lot more progress.”

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Ashley Hupfl