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An informational forum on the proposed single-payer universal health care bills pending in Albany will be held in Riverhead on Tuesday, April 2.

The New York Health Act would provide comprehensive, universal health care coverage to all New Yorkers, paid for by the state. It would replace private insurance coverage in New York.

According to the legislative memorandum filed with the bill this year, every New York resident would be eligible to enroll, regardless of age, income, wealth, employment, or other status.

There would be no network restrictions, deductibles, or co-pays. The benefits will include comprehensive outpatient and inpatient medical care, long-term care, primary and preventive care, prescription drugs, laboratory tests, rehabilitative, dental, vision and hearing care.

“Everyone would choose a primary care practitioner or other provider to provide care coordination — helping to get the care and follow-up the patient needs, referrals, and navigating the system. But there would be no ‘gatekeeper’ obstacles to care,” according to the legislative memo.

The sweeping reforms, first proposed by NYC Assemblyman Richard Gottfried in 1992 and passed by the State Assembly in each of the past four legislative sessions, may for the first time this year pass the State Senate, which Democrats took control of in the 2018 elections, with most Democratic candidates pledging support for a universal, single-payer program.

It is not clear whether the measure would become law even if passed by both the Assembly and Senate. Citing cost concerns, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been opposed to single-payer healthcare on the state level and did not include the program among his priorities for 2019.

The East End Action Network and Indivisible North Fork are hosting Tuesday’s forum, which is free an open to the public, at the Dark Horse Restaurant’s Peconic Room, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Professor Martha Livingston, chair of the public health department at SUNY/Old Westbury, will present an overview of the legislation, the changes to New York’s current healthcare system and the resulting impact on all New Yorkers.

An audience question-and-answer session will follow Livingston’s presentation.
Complimentary light refreshments will be served.

The organizers request people interested in attending the forum to RSVP here.  

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.