On Feb. 25, hundreds of Long Island residents came together in support of repairing, not replacing, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and to discuss the option of a single payer system for New York state. There was consensus among those gathered that health care is a human right and not something that can be rationed or looked upon as a commodity. Privatizing education, the criminal justice system, and healthcare have been shown to not work in the best interests of those served. It might be surprising to know that our Assembly has passed the New York Health Act, which would provide every New York state resident with the same access to health care. Employers would not have to administer health benefits, doctors would not have to deal with myriad health insurers and patients would not have to worry about access to providers and services. Eliminating the profit margins and all the middlemen would reduce costs and complexity. Payment for the program would be linked to one’s income and ability to pay, and doctors would provide services and be paid by the program.
As a health care provider, it is disconcerting how much time I spend discussing insurance-related issues with patients and how many times they choose to forgo further testing due to cost and coverage. Not having access to vision care can result in delayed diagnoses and vision loss. A healthier population is good for everyone and saves us all money in the long run. I support the New York Health Act and hope our New York state senators will take a serious look what it can potentially mean to the health and well-being of their constituents.
—Julia Appel, O.D.