There was something virtually for everyone in a report released Wednesday by the Washington-based RAND Corporation think tank assessing single-payer health care in New York. The report found the system would pare down administrative costs and expand coverage.
“This is about coverage and we absolutely believe 100 percent in achieving universal health care coverage. So that's where we'd like to see this conversation and where New York is focused on,” said James Clancy, Health Association of New York vice president.
But the report also raised red flags for those opposed to single-payer health insurance and the potential cost that could double the state budget.
“The bottom line is taxes would go up $139 billion in year one, as high as $200 billion a few years out. That would be a tax increase for New Yorkers of over 150 percent of what they're paying now,” said Lev Ginsburg, Business Council government affairs director.
The report also found the potential of creating 150,000 jobs as a result of single-payer universal health insurance due to lower costs on employers. But the Business Council worries about the impact on the insurance industry itself.
“We estimate that there would be at least 150,000 workers who would lose their jobs. The impact of that on our economy I think would be obvious,” said Ginsburg.
Single-payer health care has been embraced by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon. In a statement, campaign spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said, “This not a question of resources - it's a question of having a Governor whose willing to ask the wealthy to pay their fair share. Health care should be a human right, not a privilege for just those who can afford it.”
And then there's the concern a negotiated single-payer system could be subject to the whims of state lawmakers in Albany. Health care advocates urge a deliberate approach.
“This is the beginning of a conversation that has to happen that we want to be a part of, that the public needs to be a part of, the payers need to be a part of, the providers need to be a part of and certainly the providers need to be a part of,” said Clancy.
Gov. Cuomo this week embraced a codification of the Affordable Care Act into state law.