By Matt St. Jean ALBANY, N.Y. (NCC News) – The day was gray and the skies poured down rain, but that didn’t dampen the resolve of the hundreds of citizens who traveled to Albany to lobby for universal healthcare.
They cheered and chanted in support of an upcoming bill called, “The New York Health Act.” The primary goal of the bill is to provide universal access to healthcare for New York citizens.
The NY Health Act also promises 98% of New Yorkers will pay less on healthcare and reduce spending by $45 billion per year starting in 2019.
This is the bill’s fourth year to appear in the New York State Legislature. The past three years the bill passed in the Assembly and is poised to pass again this year with 82 members signed on to support.
Two out of three Syracuse Assembly Members – Pamela Hunter and William Magnarelli – are supporting the bill with Al Stirpe still on the fence.
But the New York Health Act has yet to make it through the Senate with three previous attempts. This year may be different as Syracuse-area Sen. David Valesky has joined 30 fellow senators in co-sponsoring the bill – one shy of a majority. Full list below:
Outside of the legislature, the bill has garnered support from over 400 businesses, including 23 from Syracuse:
According to organizers, the bill was supposed to go up for a vote in the Assembly today, but it is still under review. Once the bill passes through the Assembly, the Senate will vote.
Organizers are hoping rallies like the one they held today will convince one or more Senators to sign on and see the bill land on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk for his signature.
“All people in America, in New York, deserve healthcare,” Syracuse native and activist David Telfar said. “If Canada can do it, why can’t we?”