“It’s about people coming here and saying, ‘I want to work, and if I’m going to be working, I want to know that I can take care of my family through health care.”

Martz backs universal health care in NYS

State Senate candidate talks jobs, broadband, abortion access

By McKENZIE DELISLE Press-Republican Oct 27, 2018

PLATTSBURGH — Emily Martz says New Yorkers can’t afford doctor visits because of high premiums and deductibles.

“Then, when you talk to the health professionals, they’re sharing stories about seeing people too late,” the Democratic candidate for State Senate told the Press-Republican Editorial Board in a recent interview.

“Either they’re being referred to the emergency room or, more commonly, the illness has progressed so much that the cost of the care is so much more expensive.”

The Saranac Lake woman’s campaign highlights support of the New York State Health Act.

The nonpartisan act outlines state-sponsored, single-payer health care — something Martz believes federal officials should be vying for as well.

“They’re not,” she said. “I do think it’s incumbent upon state leaders to help figure out what is indeed a health-care crisis.

“People are not getting the care they need.”


Martz came to the State Senate race by way of a congressional bid.

She was one of five candidates on the ballot in June’s Democratic primary to determine Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s (R-Willsboro) challenger for the November election.

Canton’s Tedra Cobb beat out the four competitors with 54 percent of the vote.

That’s when Martz made her campaign switch and very quickly collected 1,998 registered-Democrat signatures to put her name on the State Senate ballot in time to meet a July deadline.

“I knew I had a short window so I had to think hard about it,” she said about choosing to run.

“I thought back to why I was running for Congress in the first place and how I had gotten there.”


In the end, Martz decided she could offer a fresh outlook compared to the eight-term incumbent of the 45th District, Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury).

That district covers Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Warren and parts of St. Lawrence and Washington counties.

“I know that my opponent is responsive to people when they ask for help, and that’s the way it should be,” Martz said. “That’s important, but it’s a given.

“It’s about, how can we do more than that? How can we bring forth the new ideas in partnering in order to move us forward?”


Martz strongly supports a New York state single-payer health care system.

A bill that would provide that, the New York State Health Act, remains in the Senate Health Committee; Little opposed it.

The act would provide health care for all New Yorkers, including the benefits currently offered by Medicare, Medicaid, Child Health Plus and the Affordable Care Act, according to the Rand Corporation’s assessment of the legislation.

“The exception is long-term care benefits that would not be covered under the NYHA initially, but could be added later,” the nonprofit’s report says.

“Patients would have no deductibles, co-payments or other out-of-pocket costs at the point of service for covered benefits.”

Funding from current federally funded health-care programs would foot the bill, Martz said.

“It will cost no more in order to be able to do this.”


Martz sees single-payer health care as a good investment for the state.

“I know my opponent said, ‘But then people will just flock here,’” she said. “(But) isn’t that what we want?

“It’s about people coming and saying, ‘I want to work, and if I’m going to be working, I want to know that I can take care of my family through health care.”


Little also opposed the Reproductive Health Act, which, through lacking her vote, failed to move through the Health Committee.

It would extend legal abortion beyond the 24 weeks now allowed in New York unless the woman’s life is at risk — not her health alone.

“There are no provisions for the viability of the fetus or the health and safety of the woman,” Martz said.

“It is in the criminal code. So it is saying that if you make a certain decision about yourself, you can be criminally held liable.”

Little opposes later-term abortion; Martz supports it.

“I’ve heard numerous stories about the life or the health of the mother in danger, about the viability and knowing that a child is going to be born still or have just a few days to live and what a difficult place that is to be,” she said.

“It is a choice between a woman and herself, her doctor, her partner and, if she so believes, her God as well.

“That’s something that we absolutely need to change.”


Martz also wants to push for some out-of-the-box job ideas that focus on the wellness industry.

“That’s not a part of the North Country anywhere, but it is a billion dollar tourism industry in the world,” she said.

The area’s good air quality could support establishment of a cure cottage — attracting yoga instructors, massage therapists, acupuncturists and herbalists to the area, Martz said.

“I say let’s explore that,” she said. “That’s billions of dollars that could come here and don’t.”


Martz referenced her time with the Adirondack North Country Association and one of its projects in Essex County, Hub on the Hill.

“The way you help small businesses expand is by connecting them to new markets,” she said.

To help Essex County farmers reach the New York City market and sell year-round products, the organization created the hub with a commercial kitchen where locally grown goods could be transformed into value-added goods, Martz said.

“They (farmers) are teaming up together so that they can more efficiently and more affordably take their goods down to New York City, and then they are also able to buy things in bulk.”


Martz said broadband is an important piece of her campaign as well.

“We need to attract people to our region, and we can’t do that without broadband,” she said.

The NYS Broadband For All program aimed to provide high-speed internet service across the state by 2018, but it left some areas without the access they were promised, she noted.

“It’s incumbent upon the state to figure that out,” Martz said. “I think we need to keep going with the projects that are in line, but we also need to take a step back, because some of that broadband that has been created has actually been satellite — not broadband.”

“Let’s pause for a moment and do a study that is more in depth than what was done.”

Email McKenzie Delisle:
Twitter: @McKenzieDelisle