What happens when Republican lawmakers fulfill their promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare?
A terrible healthcare bill has made it through step one: getting passed in the House. We are now just a Senate vote away from losing the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
As it stands, the New York State Constitution does not address healthcare; therefore, 2.7 million New Yorkers rely on the ACA alone for coverage.
Whether you bought Obamacare or have employer-based insurance, this change will affect you. Under the looming threat of an Obamacare repeal, we must protect ourselves from a sub-par replacement that will result in millions of New Yorkers losing their healthcare and raising costs for the sickest among us.
There are two bills stalled in Albany that address this issue. Both the New York Health Act and the Reproductive Health Act have passed the Assembly but have been rejected for a vote by our Senate.
The New York Health Act (NYHA)
Health care spending in New York has risen faster than income, increasing the share of state income spent on the health care system from 12% in 1991 to 16% in 2014. This share will likely pass 18% by 2024.
The New York Health Act would establish a comprehensive, universal health insurance program for all New Yorkers. The NYHA would:
- Replace the current multi-payer system of employer-based, individually-acquired, and federally-sponsored insurance (e.g., Medicare and Medicaid) with a single billing pipeline funded by assessments collected by the State, based on income and ability to pay
- Reduce administrative costs and greedy pricing, dramatically cutting down the cost of health care to New Yorkers while extending and improving care
By reducing administrative waste, eliminating fraud, and demanding fair pricing of drugs and medical devices, the NYHA could save over $70 billion in 2019–25% of that year’s projected healthcare spending.
This bill has been stalled in our NY State Senate’s Health Committee, where the members of the committee refuse to bring it to the floor for a vote, even after our Assembly has approved it. We must demand that our senators pass the NYHA.
The Reproductive Health Act
Our New York State abortion laws were written in 1970, three years before Roe v. Wade, and therefore are not up to date with the Supreme Court’s ruling. This has already posed problems for many women and their healthcare providers, mostly originating from one key difference:
Roe v. Wade allows women to get an abortion if their life OR health are in danger. New York State only allows women to get an abortion past 24 weeks if their LIFE is in danger.
We are one new justice away from a Supreme Court that could overturn Roe v. Wade, and with it, the federal protection for late-term abortions when a woman’s health is in danger. We need to take this opportunity to cement our rights to safe and legal abortions in the New York State Constitution, to ensure that women in New York are always free to make their own healthcare choices. Call your Senator to demand that this legislative session, they finally vote YES on the long-overdue Reproductive Health Act.