North Country assemblywoman calls for state-funded singlepayer health insurance
Monday, March 20, 2017 - 11:48 am

Assemblywoman Addie Jenne, D-Theresa, is calling for state-funded single-payer health insurance as Republicans call  for repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

“In the North Country it can be challenging just getting to the doctor’s office since it might take hours to drive there from home. And if the weather is bad you likely have to reschedule. Once you receive care, the worry is about how you’ll pay for the services,” she said. If you’re covered by a good insurance plan you might not have to worry, but you could be looking at paying thousands of dollars out of pocket, even with insurance.”

But Jenne says the situation will be worse if congress is successful in repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

“When it’s fully phased in, the repeal could also subtract an estimated $3.7 billion from the state’s health budget and pull $600 million in federal funding from our counties. We can’t afford that - so we must do something about it,” she said.

In 2015 and 2016, Jenne says the Assembly passed legislation known as the New York Health Act which would provide access to basic, quality medical service, with the goal of reducing costs for providing healthcare and saving money for consumers.

Jenne said the legislation is likely to pass again and she is hopeful the state senate will support the bill.

“According to a study from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, New York could save an estimated $45 billion by implementing the legislation to create a comprehensive, universal, single-payer healthcare program,” Jenne says. “The savings would come from cutting administrative overhead; so instead of spending time and money on the administrative costs of various insurance companies, we would be working to improve the kind of healthcare New Yorkers receive. New Yorkers making less than $400,000 a year would see a reduction in their annual health insurance costs.”

Jenne says the program wouldn’t impact people on employer insurance plans, but offers an alternative to people who can’t access those plans, or to small business that can’t afford to give their employees health insurance.

“I believe it is crucial that New York does whatever it can to lower the price of admission for basic healthcare. If the New York Health Act was signed into law there would be no deductibles, no co-pays, and it would promote increased access to medical providers,” she said.