Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Spitzer: “One Step In The Process”

Elizabeth Benjamin Capitol Confidential

Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer issued a very measured response to the Berger commission report, noting that as the commission itself acknowledges, the recommended closures and consolidations are:
“…but one step in the process and must be considered as an important element of a broader plan to fundamentally restructure New York’s healthcare system.”
Spitzer reiterated something he often said on the campaign trail, that fixing the “broken” health care system would “require hard decisions, sacrifice and leadership.”
He then said that he is reviewing the report and will soon say whether “as governor” he would send it to the Legislature.
This is an interesting choice of words, since it is Gov. George Pataki, not Spitzer, who is charged with sending the report to the Legislature by Dec. 5. The Legislature is supposed to act on the report it receives by either approving it or rejecting it in full by Dec. 31.
The Legislature, I’m told, has the power to delay its decision simply by passing a bill “notwithstanding” the commission deadline.
Spitzer made it clear during the campaign that while he support the concept of closing some hospitals in order to so-called “right-size” the healthcare system, he would not necessarily consider himself beholden to anything passed in the waning days of his predecessor.
“I would like not to have my hands bound by a report which we have not been able to influence and which would then be passed in the last days and adopted in the last days of the administration that for 11 1 / 2 years has failed to provide any significant leadership in the area of health care,” Spitzer said in May.
Remember, too, that LG-elect David Paterson sponsored a bill that sought to push back the Berger commission deadline from Dec. 1 to March 1, 2007. It wasn’t successful, but it made clear Team Spitzer’s desire to have the next governor - not the current governor - control the outcome.
So, the bottom line here is: All things are possible, even when they seem hidebound.

Good job Elizabeth....it should be the next governor controlling the outcome...after all..it is Spitzer's Day One...not Pataki's..............andy

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