Business owner Matt Funiciello answers Business Council on NY Health Act

Business owner Matt Funiciello answers Business Council on NY Health Act

Unpublished letter to the editor of the Albany Times Union, February 8, 2018

Matt Funiciello is the owner of the Rock Hill Bakehouse in Glens Falls, New York

To the Editor:

As an employer of 35 people, I am displeased Business Council of NYS President, Heather Briccetti, opposes the Single-Payer NY Health Act (Letter: Single-Payer system too cost prohibitive for state,” Feb. 6).

The original letter penned by my friend, Howie Hawkins (which Briccetti responded to), cited his actual source, which was an analysis by economist Gerald Friedman (Opinion on the web: "Single-Payer would save N.Y. billions," Jan. 30).

The Business Council's response makes assertions without citing sources. But it is quite clear from the numbers chosen that they come from Avik Roy, a conservative policy analyst whose paper on the NY Health Act concludes that the state should defer to Congress on health care policy. The health care cost crisis in New York will just get worse if our answer is to wait for action from our do-nothing Congress.

Let me respond to the four most false or misleading assertions made by the Business Council in this letter.

1. The NY Health Act would “remove choice in health care.”

Not true at all. Every New York resident would be able to access all medically necessary services from any provider in or out of state. That is far more choice than private insurance plans now provide with their in-network vs. out-of-network restrictions.

2. The NY Health Act would “raise taxes by more than $200 billion annually.”

Very misleading. The Business Council neglects to subtract the savings we get from no longer paying for premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and uncovered services. Subtracting those savings from what New Yorkers now pay for health care both on their own and through their taxes (Medicare, Medicaid, etc.), Friedman finds that single-payer would save New Yorkers $45 billion, or $2,200 per person, in the first year, with the savings increasing over time. The NY Health Act cuts costs by replacing our complex, fragmented, and risky multi-payer system with a stable, single risk pool and simplified administration that cuts billing expenses, administrative waste, and fraud and negotiates lower prices from monopolistic drug and medical device companies.

3. The NY Health act would “put hundreds of thousands out of work,” which the letter later puts at 175,000.

The adverse is actually true. Friedman's analysis concluded that the improved business climate due to lower health care costs for employers would result in a net increase of nearly 200,000 jobs. The NY Health Act provides for retraining the billing and private insurance workers displaced by the improved administrative efficiencies of single payer, particularly in the field of health care delivery, which will expand with universal coverage.

4. The NY Health Act would “guarantee that New York will be the least desirable state for business.”

Out of control health care costs are the biggest and fastest growing cost for New York employers. Employers now pay an average of 12.8% of payroll for health care. Under the NY Health Act, they would pay an average of 8.1% of payroll. That would be a massive improvement in a state with this "least desirable" business climate status.

The NY Health Act would significantly cut the cost of providing health insurance to myself and my employees. Exactly whose side is the Business Council on? Certainly not the side of any actual business owner I know.

Matt Funiciello

Owner, Rock Hill Bakehouse

Glens Falls


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