New York’s struggle with single-payer health care plans

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., center, speaks with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., second from right, as they discusses 'Medicare for All' legislation Sept. 13, 2017, on Capitol Hill. Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images/Tribune News Service

The following editorial appeared in the New York Daily News on Nov. 7:

NEW YORK (Tribune News Service) — Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is trying to sell Americans on “Medicare for All” with the help of a new financing plan, should first have analyzed the dilemma in deep-blue New York, where a bill to replace private insurance with a single-payer system has stalled despite Democratic domination of all levels and levers of power.

The mighty challenge here, where the New York Health Act is weighed down under questions about cost and practicality, suggests Warren’s plan could sink her chances should she advance to a general election against President Trump.

Americans, like New Yorkers, are divided on imposing a single, state-run insurance plan and wiping out private health insurance in the bargain. Nationally, 51 percent support the general concept; 47 percent oppose. Other polls show even less support. In New York, polling shows 40 percent support and 45 percent oppose.

Voters need convincing, not on principle, but on substance.

Warren’s financing plan is less than persuasive: Every piece of the puzzle, from the unrealistically low $20.5 trillion price tag to the fusillade of new taxes necessary to fund it, fuels fears that it would be a logistical nightmare and an unsustainable drag on the federal budget.

The New York Health Act, which needs $139 billion in new tax revenue in year one (today, the total state budget is $175 billion), is struggling under similar stressors. The only major study performed analyzing its viability shows single payer’s success relies on mammoth assumptions, especially on slashing health costs.

Every theory about it working falls apart if richer New Yorkers flee the state to sidestep new taxes they’ll have to pay; or if, as seems likely, the state proves incapable of cutting administrative overhead; or if, as seems inevitable, it lacks the fortitude to pay health providers less money to contain costs.

Warren and New York Dems, take note: Polls show 70 percent of Americans, and 90 percent of Democrats, support Medicare for All who want it, aka, the ability for people to buy into a public system if they desire. That’s an easier pill for most individuals to swallow, and a far easier sell in a presidential election.

Visit New York Daily News at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency. © 2019 New York Daily News.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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(6) comments


States don't have border checkpoints. The first state with single payer will become the free clinic of the nation. Of course, under what Warren promises the US won't have checkpoints either, and we will become the free clinic of the world. A distinction must be made between what is theoretically right (nobody should be without health care) and what is practical (a finite group of people cannot provide welfare for an infinite group of people.) We can fulfill our duty to the world by taking actions that move it toward being able to provide health care for everyone using local resources. We do that by being good world citizens (stop the interference and support of dictators) and by putting together trade organizations that promote development. Then we only have a moral duty to worry about our own. I think to start thinking about that we don't even have to look at philosophical underpinnings, we just need to look at different models that have already been tried, and possible courses to them from where we are. There are vested interests who will fight any reform, unless it gives them an even better deal, and they will also obscure the path to improvement so that unfeasible ideas like Medicare for All seem to make sense, rather than transitioning Obamacare into something like the German or Japanese systems. Starting from scratch, the British Health Service (VA for All) sounds like a good idea, but we aren't starting from scratch so a public option, essentially is the way to go. But Warren isn't talking about what she will do, she is talking about what she will shoot for. Congress gets a vote, and at best she will have to compromise. Or would. I doubt she's actually going to get the nomination because the left wing only has 35 percent of the party, and the rest will coalesce around somebody quick. But Warren would get my vote in the general election anyway because it wouldn't really be a vote just for Warren. It would be a vote for Warren plus Congress. We don't have dictators in America. Yet.



Guess the percent raise BC Excellus’ CEO got last year? 23% and complained he was underpaid at $5,500,000. A regional insurance company, he has 10 VP all making more than 500k under him, not to mention COO and CFOs who make more. How happy w/ my 20k dollar plan w/ a 13k family deductible? Stuff it. I’d be happy to pay another 15k in taxes for Medicare & not be force to subsidize corporate parasites.

Holmes -- the real one

Health care is replete with corporate middlemen of numerous varieties -- that's the main reason it is so very expensive. It is also the reason that what is ultimately offered to the patient is less that what would be best. Even at the patient's provider care level, the insurance industry drives the coding of diagnosis and procedure -- forcing a directive on the provider to a view that matches what the insurance company will cover. Treatment? The insurance company provides the options. And, for the most part, these insurance company decisions about the patient are unhindered by handling by anyone with actual medical training.

Did anyone realize that if your doctor actually calls the insurance company about some special case issue regarding your medical care that doctor will be addressing a non-medical person who will base the decision on an actuarial chart? Basically, that decision will reflect whether the proposed intervention is best for the "bottom line" of the insurance company.

The American public has come to accept this deeply flawed system. We should not necessarily assume that another one will be perfect. But eliminating all of those middlemen -- each with their hands out for inflated profits -- will be a step in the right direction.


Of course New York Dems don’t want this lol. Teachers, corrections officers, state police, politicians etc all have nothing to worry about under the current plan. Hypocrisy at its highest levels.

Holmes -- the real one

It is so interesting that Airball55 always takes the critical and disparaging view. We have yet, in all of the time this commenter has been writing, to hear any suggestions or opinions that sincerely uphold some person or plan. Nothing ever supported by citation or even anecdote. Of course, there are ample projections, accusations, and insults -- that has been standard all through the various iterations of this entity. Why would that be? It would almost seem to suggest that the goal is simply to argue.

How odd.

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