Thursday, June 15, 2017


Guest editorial by Tim Munier, RN, member of the Democratic Socialists of America, and Kensington resident

There is currently a bill in the New York State Senate that would establish a statewide universal health care system and could help families living in Kensington save up to $6,000 a year.

Far from being a program that simply taxes the middle-class to help the poor, universal health care eliminates staggering healthcare costs that so often threaten to destroy middle-class life and small business ownership.

This bill is called The New York Health Act (NYHA), and it just recently passed the state assembly for the third year in a row. This year, however, it has progressed further in the state senate than ever before and requires only one more vote before going to Governor Cuomo for approval.

Like Medicare and Medicaid, under the NYHA, there would be no deductibles or premiums. Everyone would have access to health coverage regardless of age, income, or pre-existing conditions.

About 60% of our neighborhood is already covered by public health coverage plans like Medicare and Medicaid. The NYHA would extend this coverage to everyone in Kensington and expand coverage to include primary care, specialists, hospitalization, mental health, reproductive health, dental, vision, prescription drug, and medical supply costs.

It would guarantee and protect our health coverage from expensive commercial plans and federal plans to cut public health coverage.

The NYHA would also be good for the dozens of small businesses up and down Church, McDonald, and Coney Island avenues. Small businesses, who pay proportionately more than large businesses under the insurance-based system, would be relieved of the enormous burden of paying for their employees’ health care.

Further, the NYHA would ensure no network restriction. That is, every New Yorker would have the freedom to pick their own providers and there would be no insurance company standing between you and your healthcare provider.

For this reason, many prominent members of the medical industry have endorsed the NYHA. These groups include The New York State American Academy of Pediatrics, The New York State Nurses Association, The New York State Academy of Family Physicians, and the Doctors Council SEIU.

The bill has passed the New York State Assembly three years in a row. It only needs to pass the New York State Senate for the governor to be able to sign it into law, and this year it has gotten more support than ever before.

Senator Simcha Felder, who represents much of Kensington, is the only Democratic senator who has failed to endorse the NYHA. With health coverage under threat by insurance companies and greedy politicians in Washington, there has never been a more important time to pass the New York Health Act. Let’s let Senator Felder know that we need the New York Health Act!

Here’s how:
  • Call State Senator Simcha Felder at (518) 455-2754 and ask him to support the bill: 
"Hi, my name is _____. I am a constituent calling from zip code _____. I urge Sen. Simcha Felder to publicly support Senate Bill S4840, the New York Health Act.

He has the health and money of millions of New Yorkers in his hands. We are watching his actions with the 2018 election in mind."
  • Call State Senator Kemp Hannon, the chair of the Senate Health Committee, at (518) 455-2200. As the chair, he's responsible for the health of all New Yorkers and can vote to kill the bill in committee.
"Hi, my name is ____ and I am a New York state resident. I urge Sen. Kemp Hannon to publicly support Senate Bill S4840, the New York Health Act.
He has the health and money of millions of New Yorkers in his hands. We are watching his actions with the 2018 election in mind."
  • Go to the state senate website at the link here and vote "Aye" on the bill.
  • Read more about small businesses and the NYHA here.