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BPHA Caucus Demands Passage of New York Health Act, and End Medical Debt Bills

(ALBANY, NY) Lawmakers with the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus and Campaign for New York Health held a press conference today to announce the release of a new report on healthcare and racial equity and to call the Legislature to pass and implement the End Medical Debt bills, and the New York Health Act (A6058/S5474) before the close of the 2022 session. 

The report, titled Healthcare and Racial Justice: Systemic Change Is Needed for a More Equitable Health System, compiles national and New York State level data to illustrate that healthcare access is a critical racial equity issue and how systemic solutions like a universal, single-payer health plan will significantly improve healthcare access and health outcomes for all. The report found that Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) were disproportionately harmed by COVID-19 due to an unequal ability to access quality, affordable healthcare and, long before the start of the pandemic, were more likely than white people to be uninsured and to struggle with medical costs. 

“The New York State Constitution directs me as an elected official to work to protect and promote the health of our state’s residents. That is why I am a proud cosponsor of the New York Health Act. As the Chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus, I know that it is imperative we pass this piece of legislation that will ensure that the most vulnerable New Yorker’s are given access to healthcare services which will provide substantial support to children and families, especially in Black, Latino, Asian, and Indeginous communities.” said Assemblymember Michaelle Solages, Chair of NYS BPHA Legislative Caucus.

The full Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus at the state office building.

“If we are to effectively address the racial inequities prevalent throughout our healthcare system, we must radically change the way we deliver healthcare to New Yorkers,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “As the Campaign for New York Health’s new report further highlights, it is critical that we pass the New York Health Act to guarantee comprehensive healthcare coverage to all New Yorkers and in that way, move the needle forward to eliminate our de facto two tier system of care and truly improve our State’s health outcomes as a whole.” 
Senator Luis Sepúlveda said, “We have to pass the New York Health Act. It’s a social justice issue, we clearly see how disadvantaged communities are the ones who pay the highest costs of inequality. Latinos, Blacks, women, it is always the same groups of people who have to bear the burden of needs and lack of services. In this case we are talking about a basic right: health. Study after study we see how prevention and health coverage has a positive effect in our communities and in the life of any human being. However, we also have to see how study after study it is the vulnerable communities that suffer the most for not being covered, not being able to pay for health insurance and in the specific case of the studies that concern us here, they are the ones that have the most economic debt for the mere fact of wanting to take care of their health. I support this initiative and I will be mobilizing myself to achieve the passage of the New York Health Act” 

“As the newly released report from the Campaign for New York Health makes clear, our state’s health care system needs to prioritize BIPOC individuals who disproportionately lack access to essential services. By providing comprehensive health coverage for all New Yorkers, the New York Health Act will improve health outcomes across all communities. I am proud to support this legislation and advocate for equitable solutions to systemic health care issues this session. Without fundamental changes in our health care insurance system, we cannot provide health care as a right to every New Yorker,” said Senator Jeremy Cooney. 

“With the impending overruling of Roe Vs. Wade, New York must be an access and haven state for all who need healthcare and need to see a provider here. This makes passing the New York Health Act and getting to single-payer healthcare more crucial than ever because it is communities of color that will most disproportionately suffer these consequences. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Caucus to clearly state that single payer healthcare is a racial justice imperative and we must pass it this session,” said Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas.


 “As a Black mother, I am too familiar with the obstacles so many women like me face, particularly around maternal healthcare in this state, and broadly this country. BIPOC communities battle our medicare system daily to obtain basic care. It is imperative that we end medical debt and call upon the state to institute universal healthcare. It is truly an injustice that so many people of color, economically challenged families and immigrant populations suffer from insufficient healthcare due to lack of insurance and medical care debt. It’s beyond time to bring humanity to the healthcare policies in our system and absolve medical debt today. Healthcare is a human right.” said Assemblymember Stefani Zinerman.