BELLEVUE NURSES AND ALLIES DEMAND FUNDING FOR HEALTHCARE BEFORE NEXT COVID SURGE
With the federal government failing to deliver pandemic aid to states, nurses call for revenue to fully fund and staff NYC’s public and safety net hospitals
New York, NY— New York City’s public sector hospitals bore the brunt of the COVID-19 surge this spring. Now nurses from Bellevue and other NYC Health + Hospitals and Mayoral agencies are speaking out against proposed budget and Medicaid cuts that could harm the communities they serve and hinder the City’s response to a second potential COVID-19 surge this fall.
Earlier this week, negotiations in Congress failed to deliver a pandemic and economic aid package to the states. Governor Cuomo indicated that New York may need to raise revenues to continue funding vital services. Nurses are joining with elected officials and community advocates to call for bold solutions, including taxing the ultra-wealthy in order to save New York’s healthcare system and economy.
Bellevue and NYC H+H/Mayorals nurses, union and community allies, and elected officials, including City Comptroller Scott Stringer, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assembly Member Harvey Epstein, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, NYC Council Member Mark Levine, NYC Council Member Ben Kallos, NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Doctors Council SEIU, CWA District 1, Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), Center for Popular Democracy, Commission on the Public’s Health System (CPHS), and Metro NY Health Care for All.
Bellevue Rally and Speak Out to Stop the Cuts, Tax the Rich, Save NY Healthcare
TODAY, September 15 from 12PM-1:30PM
**Press conference from 12:30PM – 1PM**
In the park across the street from NYC H+H/Bellevue, 462 First Ave
1st Ave, between 27th Street and Mount Carmel Place
VISUALS: Masking and social distancing will be strictly observed.
“Bellevue nurses helped save New York from Ebola and COVID-19, but we won’t be able to save it from the massive budget and Medicaid cuts on the horizon,” said Todd Schultz, RN, local NYSNA President at H+H/Bellevue. “COVID-19 was a reminder that the people of NYC and our entire healthcare system, including private sector hospitals, depend on public sector hospitals to function. Our work is essential and should be fully-funded. If the federal government is not willing to do the right thing and deliver funding to defeat COVID-19 and the economic crisis, New York State and City must step up!”
State Senator Brad Hoylman said: “Nurses have put their lives on the line to save the lives of countless New Yorkers during the pandemic. We owe them more than just our thanks. If the federal government won’t provide the funding we need, we must require the wealthiest New Yorkers to do their civic duty and help their state survive this crisis without devastating cuts to services. We must pass my bill with Assembly Member Glick (S.44-B / A.4540-A) to tax pied-a-terres and other legislation carried by my colleagues to require the rich to pay their fair share. Justice and equity demand nothing less.”
“Public hospitals have been on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried. “They now face devastating cuts that will mean layoffs and reduced access to care if New York doesn’t act to raise revenue. We know we can’t rely on Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell to fill our budget gaps. Many of my colleagues and I are advocating for a stock transfer tax, pied-a-terre tax, or other proposals to raise revenue from the wealthiest New Yorkers. It’s critically important that the legislature return this session to take up these measures in order to avoid even more dangerous cuts to health care, education, social services, and other areas.”
“Doctors Council and our frontline doctor members know now more than ever our NYC H+H public hospital health system and all safety net facilities are essential and vital to continuing to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and to be prepared for a potential second wave. The public health system, and its patients and health care workers, not only cannot face cuts in Medicaid or in other areas but must be adequately funded so that patients have needed equipment such as ventilators and workers have enough PPE, including N95 masks. All levels of government- federal, state and local- need to step up and not have any cuts as well as providing proper funding to ensure quality and safe patient care.”
—Frank Proscia, M.D., President, Doctors Council
“As we know, this year the State Legislature passed an austerity budget which cut funds from healthcare, hospitals, services, and workers funds,” said Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. “Anytime, but especially amid this pandemic, these budget cuts are devastating to our nurses, healthcare workers, and hospitals. Nurses worked without access to proper PPE and continue to risk their lives to provide life saving care to New Yorkers. We know we need federal dollars but we also know we cannot keep waiting. Moving forward, we must generate revenue for our essential services and our workers by taxing the rich. My bill, the stock buyback bill, proposes an extremely modest 0.5% tax on stock buybacks which would bring in billions in revenue to support healthcare, schools, infrastructure, and more. By passing this bill and other bills that ensures everyone pays their fair share, we can focus on supporting our workers whose jobs and lives are at risk due to these budget cuts.”
“Our nurses and hospital staff perform critical, heroic work caring for the sick, the elderly, and the young. We must stand up for these essential workers and fully fund their lifesaving work. It’s time for the very wealthiest among us to pay their fair share in order to raise revenue and ensure adequate investment in health care. Our nurses, their patients, and all New Yorkers deserve nothing less,” said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer.