Privatized healthcare in the United States is dehumanizing and dangerous. The statistics are infuriating. Maternal mortality is on the rise, topping 26 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015, according to The Lancet. 2015 Census estimates show that over 1.3 million New York State residents have no health insurance at all. Millions more have insurance in name only, with high copays and deductibles making it cost-prohibitive to attain care.
NYC-DSA's Socialist Feminists are leading the fight to fix this broken system, to provide care for all New Yorkers, and to pave the way to Medicare For All nationwide. The first major goal of this campaign is to pass the New York Health Act.
The New York Health Act is a single payer plan that would ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of their age, income, or immigration status, have access to healthcare. It would be funded by a progressive income tax. The plan would offer zero deductibles and no copayments so that decisions about care could be made solely on the basis of health. By removing profit-seeking from healthcare, NYHA would ensure that healthcare spending would actually go towards care, and not towards advertising, lobbying, or paying shareholders and executives. New York could expand and improve coverage while saving 45 billion dollars per year, per a report released by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. By separating access to medical care from employment, marital, or dependent status, poor and working-class people would gain greater autonomy over their own lives.
NYHA has passed the State assembly three years in a row, but the Republican-controlled State Senate has consistently refused to bring the bill to a vote. In 2017, 31 out of 63 Senators co-sponsored the bill, but this was still not sufficient for its passage. We cannot rely on the Democrats and the IDC to pass NYHA through closed-door deals in Albany. Change does not come from above, and the only way we will achieve comprehensive healthcare justice is through sustained community pressure. That's why we are building organized communities capable of holding our representatives accountable.
At the very first meeting of the Socialist feminist Working group, we voted to make NYHA our top priority. In March 2017, with only a short few months before the end of the Senate's legislative session, we burst into action. We created the “Healthcare Humpday” weekly newsletter and organized a canvassing campaign that collected 1,500 signatures demanding Senator Martin Golden (R-22) support NYHA. After the legislative session expired once again without action from our Senators, we kept the pressure on, protesting Trumpcare through the winter and working in Sunset Park, igniting community discussions about access to healthcare. In January, the City Leadership Council voted to make healtchare justice a city-wide priority, putting more DSA resources than ever into the fight, with four branches holding their own canvassing events.
Using a diverse array of tactics, from canvassing, to education, to medical debt outreach, our healthcare campaign has taken on a broad scope. On every level, we fight for healthcare justice. We fight locally against hospital closures and for improved funding for public hospitals. We'll continue to pressure the State Legislature in the upcoming year to finally pass NYHA. We're fighting nationally for Medicare for All, but our fight goes beyond establishing a single-payer system. Single payer would de-commodify the health insurance industry by nationalizing insurance, but we call for removing the profit motive from all aspects of healthcare. We call for the complete socialization of the healthcare industry, including nationalization of prescription drug and medical device manufacturers, and debt forgiveness for all doctors and medical staff. We call for investment in low-income neighborhoods to build healthy communities. We call for the building of more community health centers and public hospitals. We see everything as healthcare and call for the end of food deserts and environmental racism.
It's a big fight, and we need your help. Join the campaign today to help make healthcare a human right!
NY Health Act 2018 Timeline
City-Wide Canvassing Captain Training for the NY Health Act
Sun. March 18 at 2 to 4 pm
UAW, 256 West 38th Street, 12th floor
Act Up Fight Back: A History of Direct Action & Health Justice
Mon. March 19 at 6:30 to 9 pm
Verso Books, 20 Jay St, Suite 1010, Brooklyn
Medicare For All Canvassing Kick-Off!
Sat. March 24 at 2 to 4 pm
309 47th St, Brooklyn
Canvassing Training at the Lower Manhattan General Meeting
Thurs. March 29
National Day of Action for Medicare for All
April 21 and 22nd
Lobby Day in Albany for the NYHA
NY State Legislative session Ends