Ninety-five percent of New Yorkers have health insurance today. This has been accomplished due to the access, affordability and choices offered by the current health plan marketplace, which relies on a partnership of government programs and the private sector’s support. The strength of this partnership was apparent during the pandemic, where despite all of the challenges that COVID-19 brought to New York, this uninsured rate remained stable.
The uninsured rate varies regionally. While New York City has a higher uninsured rate, areas Upstate have much lower rates. For example, more than 97 percent of New Yorkers have health coverage in the Rochester and Finger Lakes regions, compared to fewer than 90 percent of New Yorkers with coverage in Queens or the Bronx.
So who are the remaining five percent uninsured and how many of them are eligible for coverage today? A little more than one-third of New Yorkers who currently don’t have health insurance are actually eligible for coverage through public programs such as Medicaid or the Essential Plan. Therefore, the true uninsured rate is even lower.
Since 95 percent of New Yorkers already have health care coverage and more are eligible for coverage, there is no reason to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to create a complicated, new government-run health care program. New Yorkers don’t want their health care to be subject to whims of unaccountable Albany politicians. Lawmakers should instead be looking at ways to get the remaining uninsured affordable coverage options.