But groups representing hospitals, doctors, insurers and employers said the new version of the bill, which would create a state single-payer system, is flawed and inferior to alternative ways to get coverage for the about 1 million state residents who remain uninsured.
“Millions of New Yorkers, almost all of the people who have health coverage, go without needed health care or face financial obstacles and hardships to get it,” Gottfried said at the press conference, which was broadcast on Facebook. He said his plan would address that need.
Lev Ginsburg, director of government affairs at the Business Council, said the employer group is opposed to the bill and concerned that the long-term-care benefit increases the cost.
“What’s to stop hundreds of thousands of people from turning to New York to take advantage of the benefit after not contributing to it?” he said of the possibility of people retiring in New York. “We simply don’t buy the idea that it would be much cheaper for your average employer.”
Gottfried and Rivera look to begin debate on the bill after the state budget is passed, by April 1. “Something as complicated as this should not be dealt with in the budget,” Rivera said.
Gottfried said he would aim to bring the bill to a vote in the Assembly some time after the budget passes, while Rivera said he plans to hold hearings to discuss it in the Senate.
Despite public comments from CMS Administrator Seema Verma that she would deny waivers to states seeking to create a single-payer system, Gottfried said the program could be created with or without federal approval. Without continued federal support from Medicare and Medicaid, New York’s bill would climb higher.
A spokesman for the Greater New York Hospital Association said the bill isn’t the right way to help the 5% who are uninsured statewide get access to health care and endorsed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal to create a commission to find solutions.
The state Health Plan Association made a similar argument that more people could get insurance without disrupting the current system.
Driving down the uninsured rate further won’t make the same dent in affordability as the New York Health Act, though. As employers shift more medical costs to workers, a growing share of U.S. adults are underinsured, according to the Commonwealth Fund. Of adults ages 19 to 64, 37% said they had trouble paying a medical bill.
© 2019 Crain’s New York Business
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