Looking Beyond Pandemic, UHF Compiles Candidates’ Positions on Four Central Health Challenges
NEW YORK, NY—May 25, 2021—As New York City nears its 2021 Mayoral primary election on June 22, United Hospital Fund today released a roundup of the positions of nine candidates on critical health policy issues facing the city, based on information from candidates’ websites and a UHF-fielded survey.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic currently dominates health policy discussions and will continue to be of critical importance in 2022 and beyond, the next mayor will also face a litany of other health policy challenges. The mayor of New York oversees one of the largest public health agencies in the world—the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene—and the largest public hospital system in the country, NYC Health+Hospitals.
The next mayor will also play a significant role in developing and implementing programs, facilitating interagency coordination, and funding thousands of community-based organizations that address social and economic needs of New Yorkers—needs that play a significant role in determining health, such as poverty, food scarcity, and inadequate housing.
United Hospital Fund sought to develop a roundup of candidates’ positions on important health issues that align with our mission to build an effective and equitable health care system for every New Yorker. To learn the candidates’ positions, UHF analyzed the websites of all primary candidates, Democrats and Republicans, that have been certified by the Board of Elections. Candidates with sufficient public information for inclusion in the roundup, or who completed a UHF-fielded candidate survey, are: Eric Adams, Art Chang, Shaun Donovan, Kathryn Garcia, Ray McGuire, Dianne Morales, Scott Stringer, Maya Wiley, and Andrew Yang.
UHF fielded a candidate survey in April/May; however, only a few candidates fully responded to the survey. The text of their direct answers was incorporated whenever possible.
UHF identified four key issue areas addressed by all or most of the nine candidates:
• Coverage and Access: Despite the most robust safety net for health insurance coverage and access in the nation, too many New Yorkers struggle to obtain coverage and care.
• Health Equity: Even before the pandemic, life expectancy in some communities of color was more than 10 years shorter than in the highest-ranked, predominantly white neighborhoods.
• Behavioral Health: Access to appropriate behavioral health services is plagued by the same inequities as in health care, and further hindered by stigma.
• Managing New York’s Health Agenda: How the next mayor organizes and manages the City’s health agenda will affect their ability to address health and health care issues.
“As is clear from the responses, a wide range of approaches across the key issue areas distinguishes the candidates on health and health care,” wrote Chad Shearer, UHF senior vice president for policy and program, and Anthony Shih, MD, UHF president, in an accompanying commentary. “As we emerge from the pandemic, health and health care must be a major focus of the next mayoral administration. We strongly recommend voters and other interested stakeholders visit candidates’ websites for additional detail and for positions on issues not included in the roundup.”
The full roundup of the candidates’ positions on these issues, accessed via UHF’s website, includes exact language from the candidates’ websites and supporting materials, or direct text from responses to the UHF-fielded candidate survey. Links to the source material for each candidate are also provided on the roundup page: NYC Mayoral Election: Health Policy Roundup.
About United Hospital Fund
United Hospital Fund works to build an effective and equitable health care system for every New Yorker. An independent, nonprofit organization, we are a force for improvement, analyzing public policy to inform decision-makers, finding common ground among diverse stakeholders, and developing and supporting innovative programs that improve health and health care. We work to dismantle barriers in health policy and health care delivery that prevent equitable opportunities for health. For more on our initiatives and programs please visit our website at www.uhfnyc.org and follow us on Twitter.