Local citizens had an opportunity to hear about the program by attending Assemblyman Phil Steck’s (Colonie and Schenectady) Health Care Town Hall meeting in Colonie on June 6th. The forum had many talented speakers including Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Chairman of the New York State Assembly Health Committee.
Mr. Gottfried is from New York City and has served in the New York Assembly for over 40 years. Other speakers included Dr. Paul Sorum, a professor of medicine and pediatrics at the Albany Medical College, and Susan Beckley from the Finger Lakes for New York Health organization also spoke. Ashley Fox from the University at Albany also presented information about healthcare in Vermont. The forum was designed to argue the merits of a government run New York Health single payer program. The speakers presented data showing that health care premiums had recently increased under the federal Affordable Care Act to about $6,100 for a person with a individual policy to about $16,000 for a family plan.
The speakers addressed the inefficiencies in the current federal health care system and how the single payer plan would correct them. Mr. Gottfried, a real expert in the field, stated that under the single payer system about 20 million New Yorkers would be insured for a cost of about $280 billion per year. Ms. Beckley presented a sophisticated presentation showing that the cost to insure the 20 million New Yorkers would be $255 billion yearly. If we use Ms. Beckley’s $255 billion yearly cost this means that the 20 million New Yorkers would be insured for $12,750 each. With the current premium for private insurance of $6,100, the single payer program raises the cost of healthcare by over 100 percent. The single payer program would spend close to $51,000 for a family of four, which is a 300 percent increase from current premiums of $16,000.
The proposal for the single payer program is before the New York Assembly in Bill No. 4738. More policy analysis must be conducted on the program to make sure that it reduces our health care costs instead of sharply increasing them. The average New York State yearly tax increase of $4,500 per resident is too high. A couple living together would have to pay $9,000 in increased New York State taxes while a couple with two children would have to pay an increased New York State tax bill of $18,000 per year. These tax bills may be fine for the rich people living in midtown Manhattan where Mr. Gottfried resides. They are not reasonable for the citizens in the Town of Colonie and hopefully this message will be quickly understood by the out-of-step Mr. Steck.
Dr. Kevin Bronner
Kevin Bronner holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration from the University at Albany and conducts policy analysis of various New York State programs at Albany Research in Public Administration, an indepedent research firm in Loudonville.