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Unions, Hospitals Doubtful About Proposed New York Universal Health Care Plan

January 16, 2019

The New York City Council is supporting a proposal from Albany to take over the state’s health care system by creating a “Medicare for All” program, over the objections of hospitals and labor union leaders.

The New York Health Act would reduce payments to hospitals and require an estimated annual tax increase of $139 billion by 2022.

The single-payer, socialized medicine plan is being sold as a way to cover one million uninsured New Yorkers while eliminating copayments and deductibles that accompany traditional health insurance coverage.

Its advocates are also saying the plan will help to keep costs down. Undocumented immigrants would be insured under the plan. At a hearing on the legislation on December 6, the Greater New York Hospital Association, which represents 140 hospital and health systems, expressed opposition to the proposal because of the tax increase and reduction of payments to hospitals.

Union leaders at the hearing voiced reservations about the new proposal while also reasserting their support of a universal, government-managed health care system. Henry Garrido, director of District Council 37 (DC 37), New York City’s largest municipal union, said his organization was concerned about more than one element of the proposal.

“DC 37 has always supported universal health care, but we have serious concerns about various aspects of the bill as currently drafted, and we have expressed those concerns to lawmakers,” Garrido said.

— Staff reports

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