Healthcare v. Health Insurance – Time for an Honest Discussion
Marketers and advertisers seek to convince us that access to insurance ensures access to medical care. This is an untruth. Insurance companies are for profit ventures designed to make money for their shareholders.
It is healthcare providers who have the primary responsibility of keeping us healthy, and helping us to recover when we are ill. Unfortunately, this responsibility is often at odds with insurance companies that hold back funds and delay payments, all of which dramatically increases health providers’ costs, even as they try to offer their patients the best possible treatment.
If we want to lower costs, improve medical care, and expand coverage, we need to change the way we do business.
When it Comes to Women’s Health, New York Must Do Better
It is unacceptable that in 2018 choice and family planning are part of the New York State’s penal code. Decisions regarding a woman’s health should be made by a woman and her doctor. Period. There is no place for interference by politicians in Albany.
As your Senator, I will fight to pass the Reproductive Health Act, which will move issues of reproductive health out of New York’s criminal code and regulate it as a matter of public health. I also support the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act, which requires insurers to provide free contraceptive coverage to all New Yorkers—a regulation that the Trump administration is working to undo.
With passage of the Federal Tax Law, a law designed to hurt states that traditionally care for their citizens—especially those most in need—we need an overhaul and review of states tax code and structure.
For so long, from the federal government down, any governing body able to do so has pushed unfunded mandates down to the lower levels of government. This leaves fewer people paying for more goods and services, raising costs, and increasing taxes at the most local levels… while letting higher levels of government off the hook. After all, they didn’t raise your taxes.
Tax reform is essential to reinvigorate New York. But it must be tax reform that benefits all the people of our state, including those most in need.
A Forward-Thinking Agenda on Jobs & The Economy
The world of business and job creation moves at a fast pace, always changing. For too long we have been late in reacting to these changes, not meeting them head on to ensure that New Yorkers are not left behind. We have to be forward thinking and proactive, bringing business, government, educators, and unions together with the working public to set up a strategic plan for today and tomorrow.
Technology is transforming our world. We must be out in front of these changes, making sure that New York has the best and most well-prepared workforce, and we are doing all that we can to attract the most exciting and innovative businesses.
We owe it to ourselves to regain our status as the economic “Empire State”—we should be the leader in finance, the arts, fashion, food, energy, science, technology, education, and more. And with so many colleges, universities, and professional schools—and a population of men and women filled with ideas and dreams—the talent is here. We just need to have the political vision and the popular will to make it happen.
The Opioid, Heroin & Drug Crisis Needs More than Band-Aids
A major crisis, possibly the #1 killer of people under 50 in the U.S. today, is opioids and drug abuse. This is a healthcare crisis, costing us vibrant young lives. This must be addressed head-on.
Addiction is a medical condition spurred on by social, cultural, and economic situations in our society that act as a trigger. Exposure to drugs is a problem, but it is not the only problem, and if we take a deeper look into why so many New Yorkers and Americans feel compelled to self-medicate we see a disaster.
Our society has to recognize brain and body illnesses as the same, and we have to be willing to invest proactively, even when the problem isn’t visible. When we wait, when we only focus on one aspect of the problem, we have already passed the tipping point and we have a greater crisis to deal with. We have an epidemic. Prevention is cost-effective, while simply reacting and covering up the problem is an endless pit of costs and death.
Addiction, like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, can often be prevented. It takes education funds, effort, and patience—but the results are well worth it and the benefit to our society is priceless.
Protecting Our Precious Environment
There is no compromise on clean water and air. We must put to bed the notion that economic growth is limited when we protect our environment. Reality tells us that the greatest economic growth is possible when we invest in a clean world, where new businesses and new technologies are creating the jobs of tomorrow and today. At the same time, continued efforts to sustain 19th- and 20th-century infrastructure, energy, and policies will kill job growth, as it kills our planet. We can and must invest in our environment and in our future.
Transparency & Accountability In Government
Transparency and openness in government are hallmarks of a healthy and functioning democracy. Elected officials must have their feet held to the fire, always remembering who they work for. Elected officials’ first responsibility is to ensure that every citizen, resident, and guest in this state and nation is never asked to compromise their human and civil rights for equal justice. Under the law, elected officials must be held to the strictest ethical standards, not expecting one set of rules for themselves and another for their constituents. In NYS, we must be diligent in removing all conflicts of interest and always insisting that our officials are accountable to the people.