By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
As President Donald Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress move toward repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Democrats in the New York state Senate are working on a plan to ensure that the state’s residents will still be able to get insurance coverage.
State Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Flatbush-East Flatbush) and members of the state Senate Democratic Conference are proposing legislation aimed at helping New Yorkers who might be in danger of losing insurance as a result of a rollback of Medicaid expansion, the loss of federal credits to purchase insurance or the elimination of a program for low-income residents who are not eligible for Medicaid.
Parker estimated that approximately 2.7 million New Yorkers would fall into one of those categories.
The Democrats’ plan, called the Protection Against Repeal Bill, calls for the creation of a single-payer health system that all New York state residents could enter.
The legislation would enshrine the health insurance exchange created under the Affordable Care Act as a public benefit corporation that would continue to allow New Yorkers to compare and purchase affordable health insurance.
Since the exchange went live in 2013, New York state’s rate of uninsured individuals dropped from 10 percent to 5 percent, according to officials, who said 3.6 million New Yorkers have obtained health insurance through the exchange.
The Protection Against Repeal Bill also seeks to ensure that health insurance protections provided under the ACA would remain in effect in New York State even if the ACA is repealed.
"The legislative package proposed today by our conference aimed at preserving health care coverage for New Yorkers is essential, especially in this day and age of exclusionary policies coming out of Washington,” Parker said in a statement.
The ACA has provided millions of working families in New York with lifesaving health care, according to Parker, who said it is imperative “that we continue to protect their rights, despite any plans President Trump or any coalition may have to strip health care from New York state residents."
Claudya C. Verdiner, site director at Flatbush Family Health Center at NYU Langone, called health insurance “a vital aspect of everyday life.”