In what is seen as a largely symbolic gesture, the New York State Assembly has voted 89-47 for a single-payer health bill. The bill, taken up for the first time in over two decades is a step toward universal health insurance in the Empire State.  It is expected to be turned away in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Via Capital New York:

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, chair of the health committee, gave an impassioned speech on the floor in support of the New York Health Act, arguing that it was long past time for New Yorkers to rid themselves of the intrusive insurance companies whose goal is to deny claims rather than provide care.

“You do not have to be an Einstein to understand New York Health is the right choice for New York,” Gottfried said.

Gottfried, a Democrat from Manhattan, spent the legislative session barnstorming the state, trying to gain support for his bill, which would be funded through a progressive income tax and payroll assessments.

The bill addresses a “right to “universal single-payer health care coverage” and will result in tremendous, if not fictional, cost savings to the state.

Republican Assemblyman Andy Goodell said it all sounds wonderful – “It says providers, ‘you’ll be paid a lot more money,’ and it says to the employees ‘you’ll contribute a lot less money,’ and it says to the patients ‘you’ll have much broader access,’ and to the employers ‘you’ll pay $45 billion less.'”

Wonderful, but not necessarily a reality.  Goodell added, “My background is in math and economics and I haven’t been able to figure out how this all works. … There is no free lunch, there is no free health care.”

So aside from the Democrats promise of universal health care for all and equality in coverage, what could New Yorkers expect from this single-payer system?

Wait times of 6-8 weeks, a shortage of doctors, and a reduction in the overall quality of coverage.

A Heritage Foundation report in 2009 explains that overall government control of health care would have a “profound impact,” including limiting the ability of physicians to invest in advanced medical equipment, reduce the rate of medical progress, and limit access to care in both the near- and long-terms.