• President Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to advocate for a national health system. There were some attempts to pass a healthcare bill during the Progressive Era, but they did not succeed.

• In the 1940s, to avoid World War II wage-and-price controls, employers began offering health benefits instead of raises.

• In 1943, President Franklyn Roosevelt proposed a ‘Second Bill of Rights’ that included: “The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.”  This also was not enacted by Congress.

• In 1965, President Johnson got Medicare and Medicaid through the Congress.

• In 1997, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, now known simply as CHIP, was passed. Sponsored by Senators Kennedy and Hatch and supported by President Clinton and Hillary Clinton, the program was designed to cover children of families with modest incomes that were ineligible for Medicaid.

• In 2010, the Affordable Care Act passes the Congress.

To this day, the United States is one of only two industrialized nations that does not guarantee universal healthcare access. (The other is Mexico.)  Evidence from countries with universal health care systems suggests that a universal scheme may lead to enhanced access to care, improved efficiency and equity, and better health outcomes. A recent Commonwealth Fund study of health systems in 11 industrialized nations ranked the US, the only country without universal health care, at the bottom, noting deficiencies with regard to cost, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives.

According to a recent study about New York Health done at the University of Amherst:

…every percentage point increase in the share of the population unable to see a doctor because of cost raises the age-adjusted mortality rate by over 1 percent. For Albany County, this means an extra 29 deaths; for the Bronx, 143; for Oswego, thirteen.

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried’s Proposal

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried has a bill that he has submitted previously in the Assembly which would create a single-payer system for the people of New York.  The plan would provide all New Yorkers coverage for “…all medically necessary services, including: primary, preventive, specialists, hospital; mental health; reproductive health care; dental; vision; prescription drug; and medical supply costs – more comprehensive than most commercial health plans.”

The health care plan would be paid for by a “tax on payroll and non-payroll taxable income, based on ability to pay.” This means that people with higher incomes would pay more than people with lower incomes.

A single-payer plan would save time and money on the part of patients, doctors and administrators who would only have to work with one, nonprofit system, rather than the myriad of insurance companies in the market

An economic analysis of Assemblyman Gottfried’s proposal has been done by Gerald Friedman, PhD, chair of the Department of Economics, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  The analysis comes to the following conclusion:

By reducing burdensome billing expenses, administrative waste in the insurance industry, monopolistic pricing of drugs and medical devices, and fraud, the Act would save over $70 billion in 2019, 25% of that year’s projected health care spending, and savings will increase over time.