Writer misrepresents New York Health Act
The News recently printed an Another Voice column by a BlueCross BlueShield executive who grossly mischaracterized the New York Health Act, a bill to provide universal health care for New Yorkers. This bill has passed the Assembly twice in past years, is currently sponsored by Western New York delegates in both legislative houses and was unanimously endorsed by the Buffalo Common Council.
Donald Ingalls repeated the disingenuous claim that providing health care to everyone would somehow force people to surrender what coverage they already have. While it’s true that in a universal system there would be no mandate to purchase the product peddled by Ingalls’ employer, there is nothing in the bill that prevents people from buying private insurance for benefits outside the universal plan.
Ingalls also claimed, bizarrely, that the New York Health Act lacks any “infrastructure” to pay for universal health care in a sentence immediately preceding his criticism of just that infrastructure. He mischaracterizes the bill’s funding mechanism, calling it an “enormous tax.” In actuality 98 percent of New Yorkers would save money under the plan, largely from increased bargaining power for things like drugs, but also due to not having to buy products from insurance corporations.
It’s understandable that BlueCross BlueShield is afraid of universal health care. Extending Medicare to everyone threatens its profits, which derive from charging the most money possible while providing the least coverage it can get away with. That, however, does not excuse publicly misrepresenting the policy.