Former US Representative Anthony Weiner greets voters and residents in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City on May 23, 2013. Weiner, who resigned from Congress two years ago in disgrace over his racy Twitter messages, announced he is running for New York City Mayor. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY CLARY        (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
This is why I'm backing Anthony Weiner's (D) campaign for Mayor:


Mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner rolled out a sweeping health care reform plan Thursday, proposing that the city act as a “single-payer laboratory” to bring down costs.

Weiner also proposed that city workers begin paying at least 10% of their health insurance premiums.

While in Congress, Weiner became one of the leading advocates of national single-payer health care -- having the government pay for all health care, largely cutting out the role of insurance companies.

In a major policy speech on Thursday, he proposed such a system for the city.

“For too long we have chosen passive over active when it comes to health care in New York,” he told a receptive audience at The Common Good, a non-partisan reform group that advocates “new ideas to restore common sense” to government.

Weiner said his single-payer plan would be modeled after Medicare.

Though the mechanics of the plan remained vague, Weiner said it would streamline the administration of health care and expand coverage even beyond what Obamacare hopes to do.

Weinercare would likely start with city employees and the uninsured, with the possibility of an expansion to other New Yorkers. - New York Daily News, 6/20/13

Here's what Weiner had to say about his plan:


In return, he proposed that 300,000 city workers and 300,000 retirees who now pay nothing toward their insurance premiums should pay 10 percent — 25 percent if they smoke. An estimated 500,000 undocumented immigrants would also be expected to buy in to the city’s insurance coverage, he said, describing it as a more cost-effective way to care for those whose treatment in emergency rooms and city hospitals already falls to taxpayers.

“This isn’t about who manages health care; this is about who manages the money in health care,” Mr. Weiner said, flicking through slides showing that city spending on workers’ health benefits was projected to rise by 40 percent from 2014 to 2017 under the current arrangement. Under an entrenched system partly codified in law, he said, a single private insurance company, Emblem, handles 95 percent of the coverage for the city’s workers, and a state board approves annual raises in the rates it charges.

Of insurance companies, he said, “Their job is to take in as much money as they can and pay out as little as they can.” The complexity and delays of private insurance processing are no accident, he added: “They make money on the float.”

Depending on the recommendations of a government task force he would create under a deputy mayor of health care innovation, he said, city coverage might still be placed in the hands of a different insurance company under a more competitive scheme, or the city might outsource just the administration to an insurer, as Medicare does while keeping overhead as low as 1.3 percent. A third option he listed would be for the city “to take the whole thing in-house.”

He said he would reorganize government agencies to seize opportunities presented by the Affordable Care Act, and have his health care innovation task force consider insurance terms that “keep more of the money in the city,” like allowing prescriptions to be filled at local pharmacies rather than only by mail order, or using the city’s development and investment capability to increase primary care at a hospital facing closure.

“This is not just a conversation you can have around cost,” he said, citing the nation’s experience in the 1990s with an H.M.O. model that no one liked, and calling the quality of health care in New York “a crown jewel.”

The coverage devised by the task force, which he called Thrive (standing for Taskforce for Healthcare Reform, Innovation and Vitality for Everyone), could eventually be offered to all New Yorkers by being listed on the state insurance exchange required by the Affordable Care Act. Such an experiment could not be tried in places like Cincinnati or St. Paul, he went on, but “New York is the health care capital of the world,” with more than 560,000 health care workers, including tens of thousands of doctors and nurses in the city’s own employ. - New York Times, 6/20/13

If you would like to get involved with Weiner's campaign, you can do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:24 PM PDT.

Also republished by Youth Kos 2.0, In Support of Labor and Unions, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and New York City.

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