Expand Health Care, Lower Costs
As Anthony De Bella's fascinating, historical analysis begins:
"In 1793, President George Washington asked Congress to pass the first federal health law, a purely utilitarian proposal to allow the Chief Executive to convene Congress outside the Capitol if epidemic disease should threaten the members. Washington's move occurred when the great yellow fever epidemic forced the entire government to flee from Philadelphia... Congress obliged.
It was quite another story when Congress debated a federal quarantine proposal in 1796. The House debate centered on the powers of the central government to impose the quarantine. States-rights proponents argued that the state's right to preserve health and life was 'inalienable' and paramount to the central government's power over commerce."
As De Bella notes, no one questioned the government's role protecting the health of the people. The debate was which level of government - the state or the central government - had that right and responsibility. About 225 years later, we are still arguing about government and healthcare.
I believe the overreach of the federal government in our personal lives has breached illegal, unethical and unconstitutional boundaries. I am suspicious of nationwide, federally funded or mandated programs. So an easy position for me is to strongly endorse the New York proposal for statewide, universal health care.
The New York Health Care Act would cover all medically necessary care including medical prescription, vision, dental, hearing, mental health and substance abuse treatment; as well as reproductive services. The legislation, which had passed the State Assembly and is back on the docket, aims for universal coverage in New York State, individual choice of providers, and no more co-pays, deductibles or premiums. The profit-driven insurance industry is no longer in charge of our healthcare.
Even with universal healthcare coverage, the problem of access remains. In upstate New York, as in many rural and sparsely populated areas, the unfair distribution of health care resources hurts our district. We simply do not have enough dedicated health care and emergency response professionals.
With 21st century technologies, and living in the glorious and healthy wilderness of upstate New York, we should be leading the state in wellness. Yet our neighbors in parts of Glens Falls have one of the highest cancer rates in our state. If I had a heart attack in my small town, the protocols would require emergency responders to stabilize me in the ambulance while driving 90 miles to the approved hospital. As your Congressional representative, I will seek dramatic improvements in access to the full range of healthcare services and health-related technologies.
Success will be measured by health and wellness outcomes in District 21.
Regarding nationwide, universal healthcare as well as paying for state models such as the proposed New York Health Care Act, I agree with analysts who conclude that fully one-third of private healthcare costs go to billing, advertising, executive salaries and relentless bureaucracy. I support greatly expanded public healthcare facilities and I would first require:
(1) World-class medical services in all facilities throughout our U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs and all facilities in the Indian Health Services (sitting in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).
(2) A clear transition plan and implementation roadmap that accounts for all current jobs in the health insurance industry.
So 225 years after our Founding Fathers argued about healthcare as a function of the central government or as the right and responsibility of the states, we are still arguing. In 2018, some consider healthcare in the wealthiest nation on the planet as a constitutionally granted right; some consider healthcare a privilege; I believe statewide universal healthcare is a function of government at all levels and considering potential healthcare crises related to both global warming and bio-weapons, universal healthcare is now a matter of national security.