Census data released this month showed the number of people who are not enrolled in a health care plan has increased. In New York, it’s the opposite. Assemblyman John McDonald says this could ultimately lead to lower costs.
"The more people participating in the health insurance industry, the more ability to actually spread costs out over a larger pool and minimize the cost per person," McDonald said.
McDonald, who owns a pharmacy, says the state’s approach has been to get people insured to create healthier outcomes for patients.
"What inevitably will happen is people will go about living their lives, be uninsured, and then all of a sudden they will be the next health care train wreck," McDonald said.
Most states have seen their health insurance enrollment rates decline. New York has gone in other direction, in part, due to an expansive Medicaid program, which provides coverage for low-income people.
"In New York it’s continued to go down and I think it’s because of the very expansive health care programs," said Bill Hammond, Empire Center analyst.
Hammond, of the Albany-based Empire Center think tanks, says the gains made in insurance enrollment could undercut arguments for single-payer health care, which would eliminate private insurance once fully phased in.
"It would be a lot easier and a lot less expensive and a lot less disruptive to reach universal coverage by re-arranging incentives rather than single-payer, which would mean blowing up the whole system we have now," Hammond said.
Supporters of single-payer, however, say the move would ultimately save money for consumers.