Assemblyman Chuck Lavine believes everyone should have access to affordable, high-quality health care, no matter their background. With record-high health insurance costs surging, leaving the 2.2 million New Yorkers without insurance or with pre-existing conditions unable to pay existing premiums, Chuck voted in 2011 to establish a state-based health insurance exchange, as prescribed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. While Republicans in the Senate blocked the legislation, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order establishing New York’s insurance exchange in April 2012. Launched October 1, 2013, the marketplace has seen the enrollment of nearly 970,000 New Yorkers into an insurance plan, approximately 770,000 of whom were uninsured prior to enrollment. Chuck is pleased to have been behind early efforts to make the ideal of affordable, accessible healthcare a reality for all New Yorkers. As a member of the Health, Joint Budget, and Insurance Committees, he now oversees the operation of NY State of Health, the health plan marketplace, for the benefit of all who call New York home.
While more affordable health insurance has led to greater quality of life for a great many, Assemblyman Lavine recognizes that, in some cases, access to healthcare is not enough. For those with terminal or debilitating illnesses, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and others, traditional approaches to palliative care are often ineffective or insufficient, subjecting patients to (potentially) debilitating, adverse side-effects and lives of great discomfort. That is why Chuck, after careful consideration of the potential consequences alongside advantages, co-sponsored the “Compassionate Care Act” earlier this year, authorizing the use of medical marijuana in New York. With comprehensive regulation of the market built into the legislation, it is Chuck’s sincerest hope that those who would truly benefit from the use of medical marijuana are now able to access it, legally and in a controlled manner.
When it comes to healthcare, Chuck is committed to ensuring that patient needs are the priority.