Cynthia Nixon, the left-wing actress and activist challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo in this year’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, supports a so-called universal health care bill.
Unfortunately, Nixon isn’t the only person who supports this bad idea. In fact, the New York State Assembly has passed a universal health care bill every year since 2015 (thankfully, the State Senate has blocked the bill each time). That bill, known as the New York Health Act (Bill S.4840-A-Rivera/A.4738-A-Gottfried), provides for a state government takeover of health insurance. Under this bill, private health insurance would no longer be allowed in New York. Instead, all New Yorkers would be eligible for a New York Health program that would pay everyone’s medical bills. New York Health would be paid for “through a progressively-graduated payroll-based tax…and a progressively-graduated tax based on other taxable income, such as capital gains, interest and dividends.” In typical New York fashion, the bill says that the nuts and bolts of the funding for this program would be figured out later (“a specific revenue plan, following guidelines in the bill, would be submitted to the Legislature by the Governor”).
Albany Update believes that the New York Health Act would yield the following results:
- Poorer health care. Research shows that people on Medicaid are generally not in better health than people who have no health insurance at all. The New York Health Act would result in a Medicaid-like system for everyone, with corresponding outcomes.
- Health care rationing. Under the New York Health Act, government would have a huge incentive to pressure practitioners into rationing care for cost control purposes. If private health insurance is no longer available, high-cost patients—including the elderly, persons with disabilities, and persons with terminal illnesses—would have no alternative if the government refused to provide coverage for their care and treatment.
- Doctor flight. The State of New York is already hemorrhaging doctors to other states because of its high malpractice insurance costs, onerous government mandates, and high taxes. The New York Health Act would accelerate this process, as many physicians would likely depart rather than doing battle with New York Health to receive full compensation for their services.
- Massive tax hikes. The New York Health Act, with its estimated $90 billion per year price tag, would necessitate significant tax increases.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called the New York Health Act a “‘very exciting possibility,’” However, the Governor’s Republican challenger, Marcus Molinaro, has promised to veto the bill if the Legislature passes it; according to Molinaro, New Yorkers “deserve the highest quality of care, greater choice, more competition and lower costs.”