Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Wal-Mart 1, Working Families 0 after the first inning

Our work on the Fair Share for Health Care Act is forcing an honest discussion about health care in New York and lays the groundwork to push for comprehensive health care reform as this discussion moves forward under a new administration.

But it's now apparent that the state legislature will adjourn this year without taking action on the bill. It's a temporary victory for businesses like Wal-Mart that don't provide decent, affordable health benefits. And it's a setback for responsible employers that do the right thing but struggle to compete, for taxpayers who are forced to continue to subsidize Wal-Mart's low-road business model, and for nearly 500,000 working families here in New York who will continue to rely on emergency rooms for their health care.
"The folks at the Working Families Party should pat themselves on the back for putting the plight of the uninsured on the agenda."
- Daily News Editorial, 6/19/06

We've done a lot to push Fair Share Health Care forward, and we got farther than any of the pundits predicted. We've elevated the issue of employer responsibility for the uninsured. And the fight is not over. Now the stage is set for action in future years.

Rome wasn't built in a day. It took us six years to win the fight to increase the state's minimum wage. And a new Governor with a commitment to comprehensive health care reform will take office on January 1, with a mandate for progressive change from the WFP.

"[A] single piece of legislation, the Fair Share for Health Care bill, could shake the state out of denial and force an honest discussion about health care . . . . [The Working Families Party] makes the credible case that state taxpayers are paying for the health insurance that should be provided by employers . . . It would be good to use the legislation as a tool for all of the state's "stakeholders" to come together and try to figure out how to insure all New Yorkers."
- Syracuse Post-Standard Editorial, 6/20/06


Daniel Millstone said...

Sorry to hear about this defeat.

If Fair Share could not pass the Senate, perhaps you should consider a universal, single-payer, non-employer based program. The one thing that was valuable about about Fair Share was your assessment that it was winnable. As a health insurance program in and of itself it was okay, but not great. If we're gonna lose, perhaps it should be in a cause we'd be happier to win.

Sorry to ask this are question, but, in your view, did Spitzer's opposition to Fair Share undermine our effort?

Anonymous said...

I agree.