Health care Legislation on the move in several states

Today in our country, we are in a fight for our healthcare. Current congressional proposals would force millions of people to lose their insurance coverage. With regulations being pulled, those who will have coverage may see the return of private insurance corporations denying and restricting access to care. Unfortunately, health insurers make more money when they don’t pay for the healthcare that is needed. It is in this climate that we now see citizens asking their states to heed the call for affordable and reliable health care for all. Three states in particular are moving towards action.

In February, California State Sen. Ricardo Lara introduced legislation that would enact a law that would establish a single-payer program in his state. “The health of Californians is really at stake here and is at risk with what is being threatened in Congress,” Lara said in an interview with Anna Gorman of California Healthline. “We don’t have the luxury to wait and see what they are going to do and what the plan is.”

West Coast activists

In New York, State Assembly member Richard Gottfried, who first proposed the New York Health Act and passed the bill through the assembly in 1992 (then again in 2015 and 2016), has plans to reintroduce it again this year. This legislation would create a single-payer system by expanding the state’s Medicare system to everyone. “There’s nothing more rigged against working people than our health care system,” Gottfried says. “It’s funded by customers whose costs are set with little to no regard with ability to pay, and it’s not something you can afford to be without.”

In Maine, according to MaineAllCare.org, in the current legislative session, Representative Heidi Brooks and Senator Geoff Gratwick are proposing legislative action to establish a single-payer universal health care system in the state. The bill, introduced Feb. 2, is based in part on the single-payer system in Vermont and single-payer proposals submitted previously in Maine and Colorado. To quote MaineAllCare.org, “If we want the best, most affordable and efficient healthcare, Medicare is the best model…Medicare’s original rollout took less that a year to enroll everyone. They used postcards! President Harry Truman was the first enrollee! Surely we could top that.”

For news about what is happening in New Mexico, see the article by Frank White in this newsletter. Click here for New Mexico news.

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