As a satisfied Medicare member, the idea of single payer health care terrifies me

By George Knauer | June 1, 2021

I am one of the millions of New Yorkers who have Medicare coverage. It is coverage I depend on and that I like. However, now it is in jeopardy.

Albany politicians are pushing a single payer-style, government-run health insurance system. Called the New York Health Act, it will eliminate all current coverage – including Medicare – forcing every resident into a one size-fits-all health plan.

I am a retired plumber from Coxsackie, New York with a laundry list of health conditions, not the least of which is blindness. And I am a happy Medicare member of a managed care health plan. My health plan has always been there for me, and even goes above and beyond to make sure I have the care I need. The mere thought that the government can do it better is not only infuriating, but downright scary.

If the NY Health Act becomes law and I lose the Medicare plan I currently have, I am concerned that I will no longer be able to see the doctors I have now. I’m also worried that it will result in longer wait times for treatment, and that quality of care will be lower. My doctors and I would not be able to choose the care that’s best for me. Instead, politicians would be in charge of those decisions.

Experts have estimated the price tag for this government-run health care system would be $309 billion – more than three and a half times what New York currently spends on health care. Funding it would require massive state tax increases of over $250 billion. That means most New Yorkers will be paying more in taxes and getting lower quality of care in return.

The whole scheme just doesn’t make sense. More than 95% of New York residents are currently insured. The majority of them, like me, are happy with their health plans and don’t want to lose them. Rather than starting over with an unproven system that is unnecessary and will do more harm than good, the politicians in Albany should focus on building what’s working in health care and fixing what’s not.

Every New Yorker deserves access to affordable, high-quality care. But a new government-run system that takes away my Medicare is not the answer.

Geoge Knauer is a retired small business owner in Upstate, New York.


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