TODAY'S PAPER
74° Good Morning
74° Good Morning
OpinionLetters

Newsday letters to the editor for Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018

Newsday readers respond to topics covered.

A crowd attends a forum on the Affordable

A crowd attends a forum on the Affordable Care Act and single-payer health coverage in February 2017 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

I was appalled by the Aug. 12 editorial, “The painful questions of single-payer care.”

Does the editorial board really believe our wealthiest neighbors would flee New York over tax schedules not suggested by anything in the language of the New York Health Act? What does it say that the board expresses more dismay about the anticipated reaction of the ultrawealthy than about the damage our broken health care inflicts on so many?

No New Yorker benefits when epidemics rage — not family members of those caught in opioid addiction, and not business owners whose partners, managers and employees stress over impaired friends and family or fight addiction themselves.

Nor do New Yorkers benefit from emergency rooms crowded with patients who cannot pay for primary care, or who wait so long that treatable conditions become life-threatening and expensive. Medical personnel burn out when patients can’t afford out-of-pocket expenses and insurers deny the care they prescribe.

Health care costs are opaque, uncontrollable and on track to consume our entire gross domestic product. Worse, our public health is deteriorating before our eyes.

Newsday rants about the “perils” of single-payer, but misses what matters most: The New York Health Act is about saving lives — our lives.

Francine Furtado, Port Washington

Sixteen percent of my paycheck goes to state and federal taxes, Medicare and Social Security, while 18 percent pays for my health insurance, which entitles me and my family to access in-network providers only, with very high co-pays. The total monthly premium paid by my employer and me is more than my mortgage!

The study cited in your editorial projects an 18 percent increase in taxes in my income bracket, split between my employer and me. This is a better scenario than what is happening now. It would save money for everyone, eliminate co-pays and serve all New Yorkers.

“Single-payer now” isn’t just a wonderfully simple slogan, it’s an urgent call for immediate relief that would result in better access to care, more take-home pay for me to spend to stimulate the economy, and a reduction in benefits expenses for local businesses, empowering them to hire more full -time staff.

I’m not interested in a slow approach that will protect health insurance companies. I am interested in health care policy that makes sense right now.

Rene Bouchard, Huntington Station

Your editorial displays a cynical view of New York’s rich. Citing the RAND Corp. report’s conclusions, the editorial says that if the New York Health Act becomes law, the wealthiest individuals and businesses would decamp the state. Really?

At a party a few months ago, one of Long Island’s uberwealthy asked me about the New York Health Act. I said its progressive taxes might cost considerably more than this person pays in premiums.

The person said, “I have the best health insurance money can buy.” But then this person explained that an insurer wrote at letter that this the person had reached a lifetime cap and would have to pay out of pocket for a life-sustaining medication. “I now have to pay $100,000 a year for it,” the person said, adding, “Only my wealth keeps me healthy. This is wrong.”

Like many of Long Island’s wealthiest, this person seeks to use wealth to make our world better — giving to schools, hospitals, the arts — and now advocating for NY Health. In a strong democracy, others’ lives matter.

Judith B. Esterquest, Manhasset

Your editorial got it very wrong in its dismissal of the New York Health Act and in advocating gradual change instead. The editorial referred to the plan as “free health care,” which is misleading. It would not be free; it would be funded collectively by taxes in the same way as education, policing and a score of other public services.

The editorial said the vast majority of people would save money under this system, but focused more on the costs than the savings. In a 2015 opinion piece in the Times-Union newspaper, Albany Treasurer Darius Shahinfar estimated that the New York Health Act could help taxpayers in his city see property taxes fall by 28 percent. He reasoned that a huge portion of those taxes goes to fund health insurance for school and municipal workers.

Most glaringly, the editorial did not mention that in 2014 and 2017, the Commonwealth Fund, a health care advocacy foundation, ranked the United States worst in an evaluation of health care systems in 11 developed nations — pathetic for the richest country in history. The United States is the only high-income nation to lack universal health care. This real-world evidence is far more powerful than the RAND Corp. study cited in your editorial.

Ron Widelec, Commack

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

Columns