I believe that healthcare is a human right. And the only way to guarantee healthcare to all is to eliminate profit from our system by creating a single payer healthcare system. That means the government, rather than health insurance companies, negotiates with healthcare providers to guarantee that everyone has access to healthcare.
Healthcare should be guaranteed to every New Yorkers and free at the point of service, regardless of immigration status, zip code, race, gender, sexual orientation, or class. We need to stop insurance companies’ billion dollar profiteering off of sick people.
This is why I object strongly to Governor Cuomo’s proposed cuts to Medicaid. As a socialist, I reject the idea that we cannot afford programs that support working-class people and the most vulnerable in our society. New York’s social services, including healthcare, are in desperate need of funds, and it is the responsibility of the state government to meet those needs.
We live in one of the wealthiest states in the wealthiest country in the world, yet people are dying because of lack of healthcare access. This is unacceptable, especially during health crises. Now, more than ever, we see that a single payer system could drastically improve healthcare outcomes.
As a state senator, I will fight for:
- The New York Health Act (NYHA), which will ensure that all New Yorkers can have quality healthcare, including reproductive and maternal healthcare. NYHA would replace private insurance with a single-payer public option that automatically covers every New Yorker. Our current system is not working: over 1 million New Yorkers are uninsured. And millions more are underinsured. Healthcare is a matter of life and death, and that decision should not be in the hands of anyone’s employer. The state can and should guarantee that every New Yorker has free, quality healthcare.
- Strong reproductive rights. NYHA would guarantee that abortion is safe, free, and accessible to anyone who chooses to have one. Further, I will fight against any bills that seek to restrict access to abortion through imposing additional requirements or barriers to the procedure.
- The prevention of hospital closures and cutbacks in my district, especially in facilities that serve low-income people. In New York City alone, 20 hospitals have closed since 2000 and four in Brooklyn alone. Often, the hospitals forced to close are safety net hospitals that serve the most vulnerable New Yorkers. People die when hospitals close. We must use every resource available to us, including raising taxes on the rich, before we let hospitals shut down.
- Safe staffing ratios to ensure that healthcare providers are able to focus on all patients and provide the best possible care. Safe staffing ratios reduce the number of patients assigned to each nurse or caregiver, which means healthcare professionals can give each patient more attention. Overburdening healthcare workers with heavy caseloads is an easy way for hospitals and other larger medical providers to save money. They do this at the risk of patients and the very healthcare workers they employ. Safe staffing provides a realistic workload to help nurses and other healthcare professionals to avoid mistakes and provide the care patients need.
- Healthcare measures that would be especially impactful for LGBTQ+ people. If elected, I will be the first openly queer, Black, member of the state legislature, and will fight for my LGBTQ+ siblings to have expanded access to PReP and other HIV treatments, to hormones and other gender-affirming healthcare for transgender and non-binary people, and to mental healthcare.
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