Hawkins, Green Party Candidates Support Enactment of Universal Single-Payer Health Care

Hawkins, Green Party Candidates Support Enactment of Universal Single-Payer Health Care

For immediate release: June 5, 2018

(Albany, NY) Green Party candidates Howie Hawkins for Governor and Mark Dunlea for State Comptroller joined with other health care advocates in calling for single payer health care as part of their annual lobby day.

“Universal health care is a human right” said Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor. “The Green Party for decades has been calling upon the state to enact a single payer health care system to save money by providing universal health care while eliminating the enormous costs and waste associated with private insurance,” stated Hawkins.

Dunlea noted that he has called for years for the state comptroller to document the savings associated with a single payer healthcare system. NY Health would eliminate the need for counties to help finance the state share of the Medicaid program. Many counties say that their entire local property tax bill goes to pay for Medicaid, which is increasingly used to pay for long term care for senior citizens. Dunlea, the long-time Executive Director of the Hunger Action Network of NYS, was a co-founder of Single Payer New York.

While Governor Cuomo said last September that a state single-payer public health plan would be a “good idea,” he failed to include it in his proposed state budget. The State Assembly has passed single payer the last three years. However, it has not come up for a vote in the state Senate even though almost a majority of Senators sponsor the bill. While Hawkins faulted Cuomo for his failure to include single payer health care in his budget, he called upon Cuomo to push for a vote in the state Senate this year in order to get Senators on the record before they face voters this fall.

The single public payer would be funded by payroll taxes on employers and employees that is progressively graduated by wage income. Progressive taxation of income from capital gains, dividends, and interest would also contribute, as would federal funds now received by New York for Medicare, Medicaid, Family Health Plus, and Child Health Plus.

Under a state single payer system, 98% of New Yorkers would pay less for health care than they do now. The state’s economy would save $45 billion annually on health care costs. The savings would come from the reduced administrative costs of a single-payer system and the curbing of monopoly profiteering by drug and medical device companies.

After the bill is enacted, the governor will submit a specific revenue proposal to the legislature. Economist Gerald Friedman has done a cost analysis and revenue proposal based on the progressive taxation provisions of the bill. Friedman finds that the employer payroll tax would average 8% of payroll.

Hawkins has previously tangled with the NYS Business Council over single payer health care. The Council earlier this week released a poll which purported to show opposition to single payer health care. “The reality is that businesses would greatly benefit with lower health care costs through a single payer system. The Business Council puts the interest of insurance companies ahead of the average business in the state, which finds health care costs as their major expense after salaries,” noted Hawkins.

An April 2018 poll by the Washington Post – Kaiser Family Foundation found that 51 percent of Americans support single-payer, while 43 percent oppose it. 74% of Democrats and 54% of independents support it. A majority of doctors now support single payer.

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