Pressure Rising In Support of the New York Health Act

by Sara Palmer

With health care concerns rising under our current administration in the United States, New York State has the ability to lead the way for universal, single-payer health care, through the New York Health Act, Senate Bill S4371 (read here . The bill for the New York Health Act was introduced by lead sponsors Senator Bill Perkins and Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, whom is also Chair of the New York State Assembly Health Committee. The New York Health Act has gained support by other Democratic and Independent Senators and Assemblymen, as well as other organizations and constituents across New York State, increasing pressure on State Senators who have yet to sponsor support for the New York Health Act . The New York Health Act has passed the New York State Assembly two years in a row, with an overwhelming vote of 92-52 in favor of the bill in June 2016, and is currently waiting for a vote in the State Senate Committee.

The New York Health Act guarantees health care for ALL New Yorkers, regardless of income or immigration status. Under the New York Health Act, all necessary medical services are covered in full, with no deductibles, no copays, no out-of-network charges, or out-of-pocket costs. Medical services are fully covered, the Campaign for New York Health Act website (, stated that, “primary, preventative, specialists, hospitals, mental health, reproductive health, dental, vision, prescription drugs and medical supply costs”. On the Campaign for New York Health website, a study conducted by Gerald Friedman, PhD, Chair of UMass Amherst Economics Department, shows a $45 billion net savings for the State of New York if the New York Health Act is executed, with this 98% of New Yorkers would be paying less in health care costs than they currently pay. The same study predicts job growth by 200,000 jobs, and with the $45 billion net savings the funds could be used for improving, but not limited to, infrastructure, and education, as well as ease the burden for business owners by lowering health care costs so they may expand their business or employ more people. [i]

The pressure to pass the New York Health Act has been building in Western New York. A group of local organizers, volunteers with the Campaign For New York Health, and concerned constituents, have been meeting with State Senators in Western New York districts, and the Buffalo Common Council, to voice concerns over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the rising health care costs, that health care is a human right, and how New York State can carve the path towards the universal health care movement in the Nation. On February 14th of this year, the Buffalo Common Council Committee on Community Development introduced a resolution to support the New York Health Act, which was sponsored by Common Council Majority Leader David Rivera (Niagara District) , and shortly after introduced, co-sponsored by Common Council Member Rasheed Wyatt (University District). A week later, February 21st, the Buffalo Common Council voted to approve the motion to adopt the resolution in support of the New York Health Act, and a copy of the resolution was forwarded to Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Flanagan, Assembly Speaker Heastie, Senator Klein, Senator Hannon, Senator Rivera, Senator Kennedy, Senator Jacobs, Assemblymember Schimminger, Assemblymember Kearns, Assemblymember Peoples-Stokes, and Assemblymember Ryan. [ii]

The vote to adopt the resoultion by the Buffalo Common Council is a small victory in a larger, longer fight to pressure elected officials to support the New York Health Act. Pressure to get the bill to a vote on the State Senate Floor, with an overwhelming passing. So that health care may be guaranteed, to ALL New Yorkers, as it is our right defined on the first page of the U.S. Constitution, “to promote the General Welfare” of the people.

[i]  read full study here:

[ii]  view resolution here:




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