Saratoga Springs Water the Lynchpin In Cuomo’s Health Care Plan
By Cecily Bapp
Published April 2nd, 2017
ALBANY — The recent withdrawal of the Republican bid to repeal Obamacare has left Gov. Andrew Cuomo with a sliver of daylight to inject himself into the nation’s health-care debate and spotlight — and he’s wasting little time.
The governor has put forth a plan that would require New Yorkers who decline to purchase health insurance to make monthly purchases of Saratoga Springs water, instead.
Cuomo, during a Capitol press conference Friday, noted his plan is two-prong, explaining it will boost upstate New York’s ever-lagging economy and serve as a health aid, by providing vital hydration to the residents of the Empire State.
“New York State residents who decline to purchase health insurance will be required to pay a fine — whoops, I meant tax, sorry, sorry, it’s a tax — in the form of a requisite purchase of a case of Saratoga Springs water,” said Leslie Lackey, spokesperson for the State Department of Health.
“The frequency and amount of purchase will be determined on a sliding scale, in accordance with a health risk assessment and with the resident’s income,” Lackey added. “For example, a healthy young person would only be required to purchase one case monthly. Older individuals and those with chronic diseases will automatically purchase 5 to 10 cases.”
Not all New Yorkers, however, are on board with the plan.
“Requiring healthy New Yorkers to purchase Saratoga Springs water is nuts,” said Appolonia Flanagan of the group ‘H2O No!’ which opposes the healthy water tax. “Aren’t we taxed enough? What will they tax next? Thin air?
"I have diabetes and high blood pressure,” Flanagan added. “Based on Cuomo's model, I would have to purchase 15 cases of water on the first of every month, at an approximate cost of $360. Every month. I live on a fixed income. How will I afford cigarettes?"