Directors / Legislative Directors;
With just nine (!) scheduled legislative session days left in 2022, I write to you again regarding the potential progress, in the lower house, of the proposed single-payer health care legislation (the New York Health act) – S5474 (Rivera) / A6058 Gottfried).
NYSPEC’s letter (attached) to all legislators regarding our opposition was hand-delivered to each of their respective Albany legislative offices this past Monday, May 9.
The bill had been reported from the Health Committee to the Codes Committee in the assembly, and Codes was scheduled to meet in the afternoon on Tuesday, May 10. NYSPEC Legislative Committee Chair Bing Markee and I visited those Assembly Codes Committee members we were able to in order to educate them to our position, in hopes of convincing them to vote against reporting the bill out of Codes.
As those of you who have been lobbying in Albany this session since the CAP and LOB were re-opened to us earlier this year well know, many legislators are inaccessible, for a variety of reasons. For those of you who may not have experienced this, it is near impossible to meet face-to-face with the vast majority of them, as sessions and committees are being conducted virtually. Many office doors are closed. Many have signs claiming in-person meetings are not being taken. Many have signs indicating potential meetings must be scheduled via email requests to District Offices. Phone calls to the Albany offices, when answered, often are met with claims of unavailability, and messages left are, oftentimes, not responded to.
Here are some of the excuses we were given by those who claimed they were going to vote to report the bill out of Codes despite our entreaties:
• Ways & Means should deal with the issues you’ve raised, not Codes
• even if it passes in our house, it will never pass the senate
• if the bill does pass both houses, the governor will never sign it
• I am being primaried from the left, so I have to vote for it
• we want to give Assemblyman Gottfried a going-away present
Needless to say, the bill was reported to Way & Means. All six minority members in the Codes Committee voted against reporting it, and, of the 15 majority members only one voted against it, based on our arguments. We thank Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz for recognizing the validity of the reasons that the bill is flawed, and for his lone and courageous vote.
Targeting the members of the Ways & Means Committee is our next step. We have been assured that the committee minority members will vote nay. Attached is a list of the committee majority members, along with their districts. For all the reasons cited above, we need your help, to reach these folks locally. Please ask your members who live in the districts of the listed legislators to contact them to voice our opposition. Once again, NYSPEC’s formal opposition memo, and “Major Concerns in Opposition” to the bill appear in the NEWS section of our website.
In the email I sent to you on Monday morning, I attached a sample MIO that you may cut-and-paste onto your letterhead. I would appreciate it if you could send me a copy of your unit’s opposition memo so we may compile them. To date I have received very few, however I would hope that there are many more forthcoming. Those who have sent one already, we thank you!Once again we cannot stress enough the importance of all of us doing everything possible to defeat this ill-advised legislation.
Peter D. Meringolo