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The perils of New York’s single-payer health care plan

Dear John, I am becoming nervous about the proposal for single-payer health care in New York.

If this becomes law and state taxes go up to 27 percent on people with incomes over $141,000, I think the effect on New York state will be devastating.

Upper-income taxpayers and corporations will leave the state in droves. The program will probably cost much more and revenue generated by taxes will probably be much less than anticipated.

What effect will this have on the state’s finances, municipal bonds, etc?

I would appreciate your thoughts on this. SF

Dear SF: First, a “single-payer” system refers to “a health care system financed by taxes that covers the costs of essential health care for all residents.” The costs, in other words, are covered by a single public system.

Let’s just get that out, because, like so many other programs of this nature, it’s (on purpose) not self-explanatory.

Anything that is going to cost the state money and cause taxes to be raised will affect bond prices and such. That goes without saying.

The question is: How much will it cost the state if the New York Health Act (NYHA) that is now being voted upon is passed?

Rand Corp., a research think tank hired by the state, claims that health care after passage of the act would cost less.

That seems counterintuitive — how can more people getting health care cost less? So I asked the researchers from Rand.

“Adding people would increase use of health care services, which would increase total costs if prices stayed the same,” said Jodi Liu, associate policy researcher for Rand. But “the added costs of more people can be offset by lowering prices for services.”

“Our finding that total spending would be slightly lower over time is primarily driven by the assumptions that the NYHA program would reduce payments to providers and would have lower administrative costs,” Liu said.

Of course, we’ve heard that kind of logic before. It’s the old efficiency argument being proposed by a think tank hired by a state government that wants to get this passed into law.

What if these efficiencies don’t show up? Then Rand will be hired to do another study making excuses.

Dear John: You helped a short time ago regarding a disability claim.

Well, I had the hearing by phone. They were nice enough to save me the long drive.

This hearing was with the same judge who turned me down before. After being sworn in, I asked if I could go on record, they agreed, and I protested the hearing since it was with the same judge. I explained to him many of the mistakes in his previous finding and he just blew it off saying someone on his staff writes the reports.

Several doctors testified. Both the doctors and judge described me as “very intelligent and extremely articulate.’”

I spoke up and asked the doctor if a person could be intelligent and disabled at the same time and he said yes.

When the hearing ended I did not hang up. And I gave the judge a piece of my mind claiming he is lazy and does not want to understand my situation and that he had shown a severe bias against me.

I let a few other things off my chest and felt better, but also realized this is a losing cause.

I’m in debt and see no way out as I honestly know I can no longer work given all the medications I take for my heart disease and panic attacks. But I know there is no help. Again, thanks for your help. And Happy Holidays, RH

Dear RH: As I said in my previous correspondence with you, disability cases cannot be won without a lawyer. And a lawyer usually doesn’t get any payment unless the case is won.

Consult a Social Security attorney and see what he says. The fact that you are a two-time loser in disability court will work against you in seeking out an attorney.

And the fact that you told off the judge will definitely work against you. Maybe you can have your case heard in another country.

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