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Affordable healthcare via universal Medicare

August 2, 2012

As long-time advocates for the elderly, the Senior Legislative Action Committee of Sullivan County (SLAC) approves of the June 29 Supreme Court decision affirming and preserving most of the Affordable Care Act. To be sure, by allowing states to reject the expanded Medicaid coverage without losing federal funding for existing Medicaid, this decision may have doomed the expanded coverage, leaving thousands of people again with no health benefits. But despite this and other shortcomings, the ACA has increased health care availability for millions by putting a stop to current insurance industry abuses such as denying health coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, withdrawing coverage when people get sick and setting arbitrary limits on insurance payouts for people when they incur major illnesses or accidents. The ACA continues free preventive care for those on Medicare, and requires insurance companies to cover preventive services without deductibles or co-payments. And in 2014, middle class taxpayers will keep the tax credits that might help to reduce the cost of health insurance premiums.

But despite the decision, the fight to replace our fractured health care system goes on. SLAC and many others support the more rational, humane and manageable solution to the current health care crisis by implementing single payer Medicare coverage for all. Medicare has a proven track record of success and satisfaction, publicly funded, privately delivered, with government oversight and regulation. With only 3% administrative overhead, Medicare is much more cost effective than the private insurance industry, which wastes 30% of each health premium dollar on CEO salaries, agent fees, marketing and investor profits. With lower costs and better care, Medicare without age restrictions would also relieve employers from health coverage responsibility and costs. SLAC urges you to contact your NYS legislators to pass NYS Health Bill (A7860A/S5420A) for universal affordable health coverage like Medicare for all New Yorkers. Then contact Congress to pass HR676, a similar bill for the nation. This is the surest way to get the best and most efficient healthcare insurance for everyone.

Priscilla Bassett and Rozlyn Sharoff, SLAC co-chairs
Monticello, NY