As the legislative session nears its close in June, once again progressive lawmakers such as Senators Gustavo Rivera and Jabari Brisport are making their push for Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins to put the New York Health Act on the floor for a vote, which would create a Medicare style single payer system to ensure care for all New Yorkers. However there are major obstacles: Knowing there are sufficient votes for the bill to pass, and that her insurance donors wouldn’t be keeping her next campaign flush, Majority Leader Stewart Cousins is unlikely to do so.
Yet, concerns about Majority Leader Stewart Cousins’ problematic campaign funders are shrouded by UFT leadership’s adamant rejection of the NYHA. Majority Leader Stewart Cousins is under no pressure to own up to her acceptance of bribes because she can easily fall back on the excuse that “well, the public sector unions don’t support it.” Despite the Delegate Assembly’s support of the NYHA in 2015 and 2017, union leaders fear that a universal health care group would deplete their membership because in their “service model” of unionism,” one of the few primary reasons people sign up for the union is for the Welfare Benefits. Union leaders have also bought into right wing claims that the NYHA will “blow a hole in the state budget” despite strong studies by the RAND corporation proving otherwise. Rather than respect and uplift members’ support of a universal health care program, and the quality of life improvements for ALL New Yorkers, the Unity Party puts their own interest in maintaining power first.
Despite having insurance, our premiums are going up, we see the privatization of the city retirees' health care happening and have heard that the UFT is ‘shopping around’ for a new plan for in-service members. Spiraling health costs accused by profit hungry pharma, rapacious insurers and greedy hospital chains can only be contained by a single payer system - otherwise we will be continually pressed for concessions at the bargaining table. Instituting single payer in New York would be a giant stepping stone to making it a national reality, at a time when Congress will not take federal action. These are all red flags that point toward the critical and urgent need for the UFT to support the NYHA now. Please sign the petition to tell the UFT to support the NYHA: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/uft-members-in-support-of-the-new-york-health-act/