The New York Health Act [A.6058/S.5474] will provide comprehensive health care for every New Yorker. You and your healthcare provider of choice will work to keep you healthy—New York Health pays the bill. You will never have to fear going without coverage again—especially in the middle of a deadly pandemic.

We applaud Governor Hochul’s recognition of the ways in which New York’s health system has failed our state’s communities of color, and her commitment to achieving greater health equity. While recognition of the problem is an important step towards addressing it, the Governor’s State of the State address puts forth modest approaches when deep systemic change is needed to create the strongest possible system that guarantees high-quality, equitable care for all, regardless of race, gender, employment, or citizenship status.

We are in the third year of a pandemic. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers died, lost income, fell behind on rent, and struggled to pay medical bills. Meanwhile, private health insurance corporations continue to make record profits. The COVID-19 pandemic puts everyone at risk, but Black, brown, and low-income New Yorkers carry the greatest burden of exposure, with disproportionately more serving as essential workers and disproportionately fewer having access to healthcare.

The State Legislature, Leader Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Heastie and Gov. Hochul must pass universal healthcare in 2022 by prioritizing:

• Passing Coverage 4 All (A880A/S1572A) to be included in the NYS Budget – creates a state-funded Essential Plan for New Yorkers up to 200% of the federal poverty level who are currently excluded because of their immigration status. This could be implemented within 6-12 months for immediate relief.
• Passing the End Medical Debt package of bills by end of session (this legislation can be passed outside the budget as standalone bills) – A7363/S6522 stops hospitals from placing liens on patients’ homes or garnishing wages; A3470B/S2521B would require notifying patients about facility fees ahead of time and prohibit facility fees for preventive services, and A8441/S7625 would ensure that New Yorkers are aware of financial assistance options. This significantly helps reduce predatory medical billing practices in the current healthcare system.
• Passing the NY Health Act (A6058/S5474) by end of session (this legislation can be passed outside the budget as a standalone bill – the #NYHealthAct is intentionally written to first pass on human rights principles – that care should be equitable and available to all. Then we pass the funding mechanisms in the following session – that is when NYHA becomes part of the budget battle) – begins implementation of systemic long-term change to guarantee universal, comprehensive, single-payer healthcare to everyone who lives or works in New York. Also saves NY State billions of dollars. We know that people WITH insurance, still can’t get the care they need. We must #PassNYHealth for systemic and sustainable transformation of healthcare.

It is important to fight for the priorities in the budget fight (#Coverage4All, #FairPay4HomeCare,#ScrapTheCap and more), but also to emphasize that we can’t trade one for the other – they are all priorities that must be passed this session! #EndMedicalDebt #PassNYHealth

By fighting for these critical measures both in & out of the budget process, we build our collective power to win a just health system for all New Yorkers, with guaranteed universal coverage (including long-term care) & a health system where all of us can thrive.

Join us in building the movement to win universal, guaranteed healthcare.