A “single payer” health care proposal is currently under consideration in the New York State Legislature.
There is a significant difference between “single payer” and “universal coverage.” Many people are confused by these two terms. With single payer there’s no private insurance companies. The government would be the single payer of health care through a major increase in taxes.
There are less radical and less expensive “universal coverage” proposals that rely upon expanding both government programs and insurance to cover the remaining uninsured.
Excellus BCBS is proud to be part of a success story that already comes close to universal coverage in upstate New York. About 96 percent of upstate New Yorkers have health coverage, whether it is through private coverage or from a government sponsored program.
While we are opposed to single payer coverage, we are in favor of legislation that would seek to cover the remaining uninsured instead of a radical re-do of the entire system.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has recently weighed in on this issue. His budget proposes to convene a Commission for Universal Access to Health Care. It would identify options to improve access to care, including methods to strengthen the private insurance market to help attain universal coverage. This could lead to a better result.
We will keep you advised of any significant developments.
For more information on the single payer proposal and what its impact would be, here are two useful links to get you started.
Empire Center is a think tank organization in Albany. You can read their sweeping overview of the proposed legislation.
Realities of Single Payer is a coalition of business organizations, insurers, hospitals, unions and others, who are opposed to the single payer proposal.