Assemblywoman Lifton Urges Passage of National Single-Payer Health Care Legislation

April 24, 2009

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D/WF-Tompkins/Cortland) joined a movement of state legislators from across the country this week and signed a petition to urge President Barack Obama and Congress to pass the United States National Health Care Act (HR 676), which would create a nationwide single-payer health care system.

“The National Health Care Act will help put our state on the road to economic recovery by providing adequate coverage for all Americans, and reigning in exorbitant health insurance costs,” Lifton said. “Last year the Assembly passed a resolution asking Congress to enact this legislation, and New York needs universal coverage now more than ever.”

Currently, over 10 percent of Cortland and Tompkins County residents are uninsured. As the economic crisis deepens, working families with insurance are struggling to pay their premiums, deductibles and co-payments, and New York’s budget is straining to keep up with rising medical costs.

“Expanding health care coverage to all through a national single-payer system would provide necessary medical care, while cutting the waste and inefficiencies of our profit-hungry, corporate-dominated system,” Lifton said.

The National Health Care Act would create a publicly financed, privately delivered health care system that improves and expands the already existing Medicare program to all U.S. residents. Co-payments and deductibles would be eliminated, saving New York employers and individuals $4 billion of the $63 billion they spend on these costs each year. The system would also reduce the money school districts and local governments spend on health insurance, passing on the savings to local property taxpayers.

“According to the American Institute of Medicine, every year 18,000 Americans die simply because they don’t have access to decent health care,” Lifton said. “A single-payer universal health care program will eliminate our current inefficient, profit-motivated system and provide the quality coverage every resident in the Finger Lakes region deserves.”