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Report Says Nearly One-Third Would Pay More Under Single-Payer

Almost one in three New Yorkers would face higher costs under a proposed single-payer health plan, and half of the worse-off group would be low- or middle-income, according to a new report from the Empire Center.

The report highlights little-noticed data from the RAND Corporation’s analysis of the New York Health Act, which estimated 31 percent of New Yorkers would pay more for health care under single-payer.

Among those paying more would be almost half of the working poor – people below 200 percent of the poverty level – who already qualify for free or near-free coverage through Medicaid, Child Health Plus and the Essential Plan. Many beneficiaries of those programs have jobs, and if they pay even a small amount of payroll tax, they would see a net loss.

For New Yorkers with employer-sponsored insurance, the report estimates the income “tipping points” at which single-payer taxes would exceed current premium costs. For single workers with no children, the tipping point would be income of about $78,000; above that amount, they would typically face higher costs than they do now.

These are among the findings in “Do No Harm: The case against single-payer in New York,” an issue brief by Bill Hammond, the Empire Center’s director of health policy. The report summarizes how the New York Health Act would work and explores its likely consequences for the health-care system, the state budget, the broader economy and ordinary citizens.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit think tank dedicated to promoting policies to make New York a better place to live, work and raise a family.


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  • This is utter garbage because it is making assumptions about a system that hasn’t been seriously proposed let alone implemented. How can anyone say that without knowing how they’d fund single payer? If you take the UKs NHS for example it is funded through general taxation. So people who are on minimum wage pay no income tax. People on average wage pay some while those on higher incomes, and corporations, pay more. The system is not perfect, but is vastly better than the current US system. In the UK you walk in, get treated and walk out. That’s it.
    They ask your name and the name of your doctor, but that’s so they can send them a record of what treatment you got for your record.
    As for cost, the NHS costs far LESS then the current US system. The UK spends about $3000 per year per capita on healthcare. The US spends $7000. Well over twice the cost. The NHS is far CHEAPER per person.
    And if you’re British and you want private healthcare there is private health insurance available, and private doctors and hospitals. Generally they get you nicer food and a nicer room, and for non-urgent treatment you can get treated faster. Not many people bother because the NHS generally has very good care.
    You just know you are covered. Change jobs? You’re covered. Lose your job? You’re covered. Start your own business? You’re covered. Employer goes bankrupt? You’re covered. You literally never have to give health coverage a second thought.
    The NHS is better and costs under half the cost of the US system.
    This report is just a scare story.

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