Our healthcare chair served on the LWVNYS HealthCare Update Committee (HCUC) — a committee of League members from across NYS which was formed after the 2019 LWVNYS Convention. The HCUC spent almost 18 months studying healthcare, creating a 50-page package of “Study Materials,” and two new positions to offer NYS state and local Leagues. Between December 2020 and March 2021, the HCUC presented educational programs on the new positions to leagues across New York and provided concurrence materials.
In April 2021, the LWVNYS voted to adopt the new positions on Healthcare and Financing of Healthcare, after 31 local Leagues reported reaching consensus (31 supported the new Healthcare position, 30 supported the new Healthcare Financing position). The new positions replaced positions which had been adopted in 1991.
During the summer and fall of 2021, encouraged by League members from outside of NYS, we began working on offering a concurrence at the LWVUS 2022 Convention.
All concurrences offer a “concurrence statement,” the language that will become the new position or that will amend a current position. Current LWVUS positions can be revised or rewritten (have their wording changed) only after nationwide study and consensus across 50 state leagues and DC league. Concurrence can add language to a US position by leveraging the work done by another League in studying an issue.
Because the LWVUS has a Health Care position from 1993, this concurrence takes excerpted language from the two NYS 2021 positions to add to the current US position. The two new NYS positions replaced the NYS 1991 positions (after the NYS study and state-wide adoption). The proposed NYS concurrence statement removes language that is redundant to the current US position and language focused particularly on NYS. It also generalizes references to NYS, New York residents, and state programs, making the position appropriate for a national position. (Note that LWVNY considers “healthcare” as one word, while LWVUS uses two words.)
Since most local and state Leagues use the national health care position in lieu of having their own, amending the national position to be more current benefits all. Per League guidelines, there can be no changes to the language of the national position without a new study. Thus, this concurrence will benefit state Leagues without requiring additional resources from the national League.
By adopting (passing) this concurrence, convention delegates will update our national position to speak to current concerns including health inequities that have grown more severe over three decades — without having to conduct their own studies, create their own study materials, and go through their own consensus process. For example, it will provide grounds for local and state Leagues to support
Such healthcare reforms will benefit everyone, and particularly poor, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), rural, and other socially and economically disadvantaged communities.
The Concurrence proposes adding exact language from the LWVNYS positions, 2021 (see the Concurrence Statement) to the LWVUS Position 1991, into four subheadings, with substance summarized below:
FINANCING & ADMINISTRATION:
Explicitly favors “single-payer” funding with access to health insurance independent of employment status — the Study Materials reference decades of research showing the unequaled power of single-payer systems to achieve equitable and universal access, on-going cost containment (by reducing waste and corporate profits). New language favors separating access to health insurance from employment. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the dangers of millions losing health insurance.
In the absence of a national program funding universal health care, new language allows states to enact programs, provided they comply with League principles.
Cost-control measures should reflect the most credible, evidence-based research available; favored measures should not exacerbate disparities among patients.
Explicit support for transparent administration, with regular assessment of public health metrics and coverage, cost, and funding decisions.
(This list will be updated until Convention 2022)
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Because the HCUC was charged to review the LWVNYS Healthcare Financing position, in light of single-payer legislation then under consideration by the New York legislature, the HCUC included in the study materials one potential example of a single-payer system operating at the state level, the New York Health Act (NYHA). HCUC noted that NYHA is not the only model of a single-payer system and member approval of the proposed position does not mandate support of the NYHA, or any specific piece of legislation. Positions set out general principles by which to evaluate legislation; they don’t mandate support for bills.
After study, the HCUC decided that single-payer healthcare programs can be financially feasible for taxpayers, patients, and providers; that they can increase quality care by removing middle-men from examining rooms where decisions on treatment are made; that they can potentially reduce inequities around access and disparities around health outcomes; and that they can reduce overall costs as well as better controlling cost increases. While the example used is often the NYHA, because that was the example HCUC was charged to use, HCUC findings can be generalized to other single-payer programs with similar characteristics.
On the online form, answer Question 7 “yes” so that a new Question 8 appears: “Would you like to recommend another program item, in addition to the Campaign for Making Democracy Work ®? Question 8 has a box that will accept 300 words
Use the box for the last question on the survey (#13 on online form or #15 in pdf version): “Please provide anything else you would like to share on Program Planning.”
Please copy ALL this language into ONE box of LWVUS Program Planning Survey:
We support including the “Proposal for Concurrence at LWVUS Convention: Adding Language Excerpted from the 2021 LWVNYS Positions on Healthcare and Financing Healthcare” as a US Board recommended item for program consideration at Convention.
Concurring with this LWVNYS language at Convention will update the LWVUS Health Care Position without requiring any outlay of resources by either local Leagues or LWVUS. It will support our DEI efforts by allowing Leagues to support improvements to our health care system that will benefit poor, BIPOC, rural, and other socially and economically disadvantaged residents. Access to quality health care is a concern for a majority of Americans. (PWM website page link)
Each League may complete the LWVUS PP survey once (online only). There is now a “SAVE” button that enables whoever is filling out the form to come back to it once started, but it still might time out so LWV ProgPlan suggests preparing your answers ahead of time, by using a a PDF version of the survey — and then copy/pasting your answers into the online boxes.You should be aware that question numbers on the online survey will change based on your answers, so they may not match the PDF numbering.
Submission deadline: March 1, 2022. Email questions: email@example.com
PDF Survey (so you can plan your answers, pp 6-8 of Program Planning Guide): https://www.lwv.org/sites/default/files/2021-10/Program Planning Leaders Guide.pdf
Online Survey: http://s.alchemer.com/s3/2021-Program-Planning-Survey
3. Please let us know if we can add your name to the list of leagues who support putting this concurrence on the June agenda, by emailing LWV.NYS.Healthcare.Update@gmail.com
Should the LWVUS position on Healthcare include support for “safe staffing”?
Pro: This would protect patients and providers from injury
Con: Regulating the number of staff reduces management flexibility
Should the LWVUS position on Healthcare include a call to protect vulnerable populations
to protect overall public health?
Pro: Infection spreads easily from vulnerable to general populations, and prevention
saves money in the long run.
Con: It costs money and taxes upfront to provide healthcare for those who can’t pay for
Should health insurance coverage be tied to employment (as of now) or should residents have
access to healthcare regardless of employment status?
Pro: The pandemic showed what happens when millions of families lose access to
health insurance when a parent loses their job
Con: The current system has worked for 70 years, with employers subsidizing part of
Should single-payer legislation be required to provide not just equitable access to
healthcare but also financial feasibility and affordability for patients and taxpayers?
Pro: Single-payer programs save overall healthcare dollars
Con: It’s not been proven that what works in other countries can transfer to the U.S.
Should propose cost-control methods project both equitable access and overall savings?
Pro: Cost controls do not have to reduce access or increase health problems.
Con: Cost controls result in limiting access.
In the absence of a federal program funding universal health care, should states be
allowed to enact programs that comply with League principles?
Pro: States are the “laboratories of democracy” and can pilot new approaches.
Con: Americans move around too much for this to be effective.
Should the public participate in setting policy for healthcare administration?
Pro: If we want the public to be satisfied with decisions, the public should have a say in the
Con: Healthcare policy is too complicated for public participation.
If, after reviewing this material, you have questions, please email LWV.NYS.Healthcare.Update@gmail.com
Videos on healthcare reform, rural issues in HC, DEI disparities in HC and more are available on the
The NYS Rural Caucus and the US Rural Affairs Caucus (both composed of League members who prioritize rural issues) are proposing a Digital Equity Concurrrence, using the LWVCT positions on Broadband Access and Community Affairs & Public Access Media.
Members of the Leagues of Connecticut, Georgia, New Mexico, New York, Tennessee and Vermont have all signed on to support this Concurrence. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has intensified awareness of the need for Digital Equity, noting that universal access to affordable, reliable, resilient, high-speed internet services is increasingly essential:
All households need affordable access to a broadband connection with sufficient speed and bandwidth to allow a family to engage in all these activities simultaneously. Yet, in sparsely populated and poorer urban areas, internet service is often provided by a monopoly or at best a duopoly, leading to predatory pricing, cherry picking of customers, and much lower speeds. In short, the Covid-19 pandemic has only underscored the necessity of Digital Equity, the principle at the heart of the LWV CT position.