Health Care Justice

Policy Statement

Health Care is a human right. The United States has arguably the most expensive health system in the world and yet, because of cost or even lack of access to insurance, too many people are uninsured or underinsured. While the Affordable Care Act marks an enormous improvement to our health care system, we believe that Medicare for All or a single payer system is the needed next step and is the only solution to countering the health crisis in the United States. We do, however, support interim steps to improve the existing health care system.

Local Legislation

State Legislation

New York Health Act. While great progress in addressing the health care crisis was made with the Affordable Care Act, in New York there are many people who struggle with medical debt because of high co-pays and deductibles. While many have insurance, it is essentially unaffordable because recipients do not have enough money to cover the actual costs and yet make too much to qualify for Medicaid.  In New York, through private health plans, we pay for an excessive amount for administrative waste. Undocumented people do not get access to any benefits. The best solution is to pass Medicare for All at the national level. At the same time, the New York must pass the New York Health Act which would cost substantially less than private health plans while covering more services not included in private plans like dental, vision, and long-term care. The New York Health Act received a majority in the Assembly and Senate but still failed to come to the floor for a vote.

Spectrum News 1 article on the New York Health Act

We will resume advocacy for the New York Health Act in hopes it will pass in the 2022 legislative session. In the meantime, we will continue to advocate for more incremental changes at the state and Federal level.

For all the background on New York Health (including the full text of the bill) and actions you can take, go to https://www.nyhcampaign.org/learn.

Masking and Vaccination. We strongly advocate for everyone being vaccinated and urge congregations to do everything they can to counter vaccine hesitancy and significantly increase vaccination rates in their communities while employing masking precautions.

Hospital Pricing. Many hospitals burden their patients by billing over 3 times what they charge Medicare for the same procedure.  View the rally held on October 15 and learn more about the bill introduced by Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Catalina Cruz. You can also view the livestream of the hearing at the New York City Council in virtual room 1. Also go to #coalitionforaffordablehospitals.

Health Care for Immigrants. Undocumented immigrants in New York comprise a significant percentage of our workforce and contribute much to our economy and state tax revenue. They do not, however, have access to health insurance. The #Coverage4All Campaign are the organizers to secure health insurance for New York's undocumented population.

TAKE ACTION

September 27, 2021: Stay tuned for details about the annual retreat with health care advocates in New York State heIn the mean time September 27, 2021. We urge you to call your Congress Member, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and White House and urge them to pass a fully funded Build Back Better Act with all of the health care provisions. Use this contact tool from Citizen Action. https://p2a.co/z0RURTG

October 12 to 14 2021: The Annual Retreat for Health Care Advocates was held October 12 to 14. Video of the retreat will be available soon.

October 15, 2021, the New York State Council of Churches joined its friends in labor unions including the Hotel Trades Council, SEIU 32BJ, PEF, the Screen Actors Guild/ American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and other unions  to advocate for a bill for more competitive hospital pricing. Many hospitals burden their patients by billing over 3 times what they charge Medicare for the same procedure.  View the rally and learn more about the bill introduced by Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Catalina Cruz. You can also view the livestream of the hearing at the New York City Council in virtual room 1. Also go to #coalitionforaffordablehospitals.



Federal Legislation

The Build Back Better Plan will improve healthcare in the United States. Here are background papers on two significant provisions:

Close the Medicaid Coverage Gap  

Significantly Expand Affordable Coverage

Take Action

September 27, 2021. We urge you to call your Congress Member, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and the White House and urge them to pass a fully funded Build Back Better Act with all of the health care provisions. Use this contact tool from Citizen Action https://p2a.co/z0RURTG