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Community discussion on New York Health Act set for March 23

While the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act dominates health care headlines, two bills introduced in the New York State Senate and Assembly aim to provide insurance to all residents in the state.

The New York Health Act would establish “a comprehensive system of access to health insurance for New York state residents,” according to the Senate bill, which is currently in committee.

North Fork residents interested in learning more about the proposed health care legislation can attend a teach-in and community discussion Thursday, March 23 at the First Presbyterian Church of Southold. The discussion is sponsored by North Forkers for the Common Good, a group “born out of the Bernie Sanders campaign,” according to its Facebook page.

Martha Livingston, a professor and chair of the public health department at SUNY/Old Westbury, and Michael Zweig, a professor emeritus and former director at the Center for Study of Working Class Life at Stony Brook University, will lead the discussion that starts at 7 p.m.

Some of the funding for the added insurance would come from a payroll tax similar to the Medicare tax, according to the bill. Similar bills have passed in the Assembly the past two years.

“We know the current Medicare program provides excellent coverage for seniors and is cost effective,” Mr. Zweig said in a press release. “Medicare for all would cover everyone, and when everyone is covered, it benefits us all. Although people will be paying an increased payroll tax, this would be significantly less costly than continually rising insurance premiums.”