While we appreciate Howie Hawkins' consideration of New York's employers in his commentary (Opinion on the web: "Single-payer would save N.Y. billions," Jan. 30), as the state's leading business organization we know that employee health costs are a top concern for our members.
Unpublished letter to the editor of the Albany Times Union, February 8, 2018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.Read more
Commentary by Howie Hawkins
A single-payer public health plan will lower the costs of government and doing business in New York. Since Governor Cuomo agrees that single payer is a "good idea," he should incorporate it into his legislative and budget agenda.
Letter to the Editor by Howie Hawkins
New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last September that a state single-payer public health plan would be a “good idea.” But he said nothing about it in his State of the State address and budget messages.
A state “Medicare for All” system would save $2.7 billion to insure state employees and retirees, which would take a big bite out of the $4.4 billion deficit the state faces.
The New York Health Act would provide universal health care for all New Yorkers for all medically necessary services with no out-of-pocket expenses (including premiums, copays and deductibles).Read more
... “People in the community call it National Greed — people talk about National Greed. They have been upset for a long time and this rate hike will not help the company’s reputation,” said Howie Hawkins, a local activist who has voiced support for publicly-owned power utilities.
Hawkins campaigned for mayor this past fall on the Green Party ticket....
“This rate proposal has a low-income provision, but it’s those people that are working above the threshold but not rich … lower income workers, those are the people that are going to get hit the hardest and face the choice between heat and groceries,” Hawkins said.
Commentary by Howie Hawkins
Howie Hawkins, of Syracuse, was the Green Party candidate for mayor.
Your Jan. 14 editorial ("CNY economy needs workforce training") cites a CenterState CEO survey of business leaders who said rising employee benefit costs were "the No. 1 pressure point for their businesses in 2017."
But your response seems to be call for state tax and spending cuts. That seems implied by your comment that the "state's tax climate also matters" and adding that the state faces a $4 billion deficit, plus additional lost revenue from federal changes to health care and tax policy, which is estimated to be over $2 billion.
I would suggest that a better approach than austerity budgets is to improve the business climate and reduce government deficits by enacting the New York Health Act in order to lower health care costs to business and government.Read more
The Green Party in New York offered up its own State of State address last week, with a series of ideas the party says will push the state forward.
Howie Hawkins, a two-time gubernatorial candidate for the Green Party, says there are things his party liked in Gov. Cuomo’s list of 2018 legislative priorities, but there's not enough to pull them on board.
“He’s socially progressive but economically, he’s pretty conservative,” said Hawkins. “And the system isn’t changing. And when you get to issues like poverty and the struggles of middle income people, he offers nothing.”Read more
New York can lead the nation and the world toward economic justice and ecological sustainability. Our state can be an inspiring example of full employment at living wages, health care for all, affordable housing, quality public education, and 100 percent clean, climate-stabilizing energy.