Jerry Kann

Green Party Candidate for
New York City Council

District 22 - Astoria, Queens


A universal healthcare pilot program for New York City

Every advanced country in the world has a universal healthcare system— except the United States. Plainly, what we need is a health insurance plan that covers everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. But that effort seems to be stalled at the national level. So why not try to implement such a plan at the local level? This could show other cities, states, and eventually the federal government how to make universal healthcare a reality.

The Labor Party— a close philosophical ally of the Green Party— has proposed a system called "Just Healthcare." Perhaps the best thing about the plan is its answer to the eternal question: "How are we going to pay for it?" Some of the financing proposals include:

* a tax on stock and bond transactions (such as existed on the New York Stock Exchange until 1984)

* an income tax on the wealthiest five percent of taxpayers

* an employer contribution that might entirely replace the premiums they now must pay out to private health insurance plans.

All these could be tested out at the local level here in New York. Money raised in this pilot program could be used to establish a Healthcare Trust Fund.

Much of the appeal of this program is that it could demonstrate how efficient and cost-effective other, similar programs have been. The Social Security Trust Fund, for example, is run with only about one percent administration costs— which compares very favorably with the 20 percent or so spent on administration by most private health insurance companies. Also, the advantage of doing it in New York City is obvious: we could say to the rest of the country, in effect, "Hey, if we can do it in New York, we can do it anywhere."


This site brought to you by the Kann For Council Campaign, 2001. Last updated July 12, 2001.