[E]veryone should have access to essential physical and behavioral healthcare… high quality care that is affordable and accessible to all… [with] uniform eligibility and coverage of essential healthcare services, both physical and behavioral, ideally … vision, dental, hearing, and long-term care, through public financing …[with] an emphasis on preventive care, health education, and appropriate use of primary care services.
(From LWVNY Healthcare Position)
[The League favors e]ssential healthcare at an affordable cost for all New Yorkers, both patients and taxpayers… the single-payer concept [is] a viable and desirable approach to implementing League positions on equitable access, affordability, and financial feasibility … [and] health insurance access independent of employment status.
(From LWVNY Healthcare Financing Position)
Tracking and prioritizing key HC reform legislation in the NYS Senate & Assembly
The LWV of NYS Healthcare Committee meets regularly to review and assess proposed legislation, and to read and assess executive communications for their healthcare ramifications, such as the Governor’s State of the State Book . We submitted testimony to the NYS Joint Fiscal Committee of the Senate and Assembly about the 2024 Budget, as did three other Issues Specialists. We will work with the NYS Board to influence the Pre-Budget Lobbying Alert that will go to all Leagues in late February.
League members interested in advocating to bring affordable, equitable, comprehensive, quality healthcare to all New Yorkers — and for additional healthcare reforms that will bring New York closer to that vision — are welcome to reach out to Program@lwvofpwm.org, typing Healthcare in the subject line.
Successfully mobilizing LWVUS to adopt language from new NYS positions
At the June 2022 National Convention, LWVUS delegates voted overwhelmingly to adopt by concurrence an Update to the US position on Health Care. Leagues across the country are now able to advocate in their state legislatures for key reforms (read more here).
During 2021-22 our League co-led successful efforts to mobilize local Leagues across NYS and the US to support updating the LWVUS Healthcare position (adopted in 1993) by adding excerpts from the 2021 LWVNY Healthcare and Healthcare Financing positions by Concurrence at the 2022 National Convention.
Concurrence is a long-standing and well-respected process to allow Leagues to leverage the rigorous study, review, and consensus processes of other Leagues. By using Concurrence, a League may adopt a new position or update an existing position without expending the extraordinary effort required to do a statewide or nationwide study.
Success at the June National Convention allows the 700 Leagues across the country to advocate more easily for needed healthcare reforms and for available, affordable, resilient, and universal access to the Internet. We are proud that the vote, by virtual and in-person delegates, was nearly unanimous for the healthcare update and also adopted the Digital Equity position by a wide margin. League members know that reforming our healthcare at local, state, and federal levels is an urgent priority — for individuals and their families, for the public health of communities, for our national economy and body politic. Our democracy — as well as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” — depends on Americans being healthy.
To learn more about LWVPWM’s successful Healthcare Concurrence and Digital Equity Concurrence efforts, click here.
Successfully supporting NYS & US Rural Affairs Caucuses: 2022 adoption of LWVUS Digital Equity Position:
The NYS Rural Affairs Caucus successfully spearheaded national concurrence with the LWV of Connecticut positions on Digital Equity (Broadband) and Public Access Media at the 2022 LWVUS Convention — meaning the LWVUS now has a position favoring universal, available, affordable, resilient internet access. Prior to June 2022, like 46 state Leagues, the LWVUS had no position on Digital Equity or Public Access Media. New Mexico, Tennessee, and Maine had positions by State Concurrence with Connecticut.
As a founding member of the national Rural Affairs network — which includes League members from 30 states —PWM helped launch an informal survey of these League members in the spring of 2020. It asked respondents to list the most critical needs facing their rural neighbors. Almost every respondent listed healthcare and 70% listed broadband or high speed Internet, with outreach for voter education listed by about half (some linking voting education and mobilization to internet access). The degree of consensus in an open-ended survey was remarkable. The pandemic not only made critical gaps in rural healthcare and digital equity painfully visible, but exacerbated their harm.
The sponsors of the the Healthcare Concurrence and Digital Equity Concurrence cross-endorsed each other because a stronger LWVUS Position on each strengthens opportunities for advocacy for the other. To learn more, click here: Cross-endorsement.
Healthcare through a DEI lens (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion)
Dangerous disparities in access to healthcare and in public health outcomes have been increasing over the past three decades for marginalized populations across our state and our country — rural residents; people of color; those who suffer from chronic conditions; those who are incarcerated, lack fluent English, or are homeless; those who cannot afford health insurance, and those who may have insurance but cannot afford cost-sharing (co-pays, deductibles, out-of-network fees, and co-insurance).
The COVID-19 pandemic made these disparities dramatically more visible. Not only have vulnerable groups experienced death rates double or triple the rates of other (richer, whiter) groups but, as a country, we have lost ground against our peers, other developed nations. Indeed, unlike other developed countries, US life expectancy has fallen over the past few years, beginning even before the pandemic.
PWM has led, co-led and helped develop educational events about these DEI issues for local, state and national audiences, including
18-month Study to Update LWV NY Positions & 6-month Consensus Process
Our local League actively supports the US and NYS League healthcare positions. The LWV NY positions — adopted by the State Board in 2021 after an 18-month process of intensive study, followed by 6 months of education and consensus discussions by local Leagues across NYS — were recommended to the Board with virtually unanimous support. They replace the NY positions adopted in 1991 and were aligned with the US position, adopted in 1993, but offered many additional reforms and clarified language.
Now, critical elements of these NYS positions have been adopted by the National League, updating what is possible for the 40+ state Leagues without state positions on healthcare.
Our League representative was an active participant in the 7-member Study Committee, and offered education events for local leagues across the state, and provided Q&A, as needed, to explain the new positions. In large part because of these efforts, the Chair of our Healthcare Committee has been appointed the LWVNY Issue Specialist on Healthcare by the LWVNY Board.
Educational Events & Testimony on Healthcare
PWM has run many educational programs on single-payer healthcare:
PWM has also testified and helped prepare testimony at hearings on the NY Health Act and other HC legislation:
“LWVNY Advocacy and Resources
Find links to the 2021 Healthcare Positions and the Study Materials, along with materials on Death With Dignity positions here.
Find link to the 2021 LWV NYS Memorandum of Support for the NY Health Act here (in 2021 Legislative Packet)
Endorsement of the Campaign for New York Health (here)
Governor Hochul appointed James V. McDonald M.D., M.P.H. as the temporary NYS Health Commissioner, effective Jan 1, 2023, after Dr. Mary Bassett announced her return to the Harvard School of Public Health as Director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights.
Recent 2022 NYS Health Laws passed by both chambers (signing TBD by Dec ’22)
Recent 2021 NYS Health Laws signed
Learn more about single-payer healthcare funding — videos
Learn more about single-payer healthcare funding — websites
If you are interested in learning more about an issue that many worry is too complicated for ordinary Americans, we would love to hear from you.