Wednesday, March 07, 2007


New York Post

Eliot is taking this battle to the next degree...can you honestly recall the last time anybody has seen so much emotion and dedication to a cause coming from the governor's office??? andy

March 7, 2007 -- In an unusual, direct appeal to more than 1,000 hospital-board members, Gov. Spitzer sent out a stinging letter questioning their opposition to modest budget cuts as health-care executives rake in million-dollar salaries and allegedly waste public dollars and mismanage facilities.
"How can it be that those same hospitals that claim poverty and demand billions of dollars in state subsidies can afford to pay their executives multimillion-dollar salaries?" Spitzer wrote in the letter.
At issue is the public war between Spitzer and a coalition of the Greater New York Hospital Association and hospital-workers union Local 1199 over the governor's proposed $1.2 billion in cuts to New York's highest-in-the-nation Medicaid costs.
The coalition is spending $1 million a week on TV ads blasting Spitzer's health-care budget as "devastating."
A former hospital board member himself, the governor told trustees that he appealed to them directly because "interest groups that represent your hospitals" - GNYHA and 1199 - were distorting his plan.
Spitzer spokeswoman Christine Anderson said the governor wanted to directly "engage" board members "because these are people who would be inclined to support the governor's reform efforts, if they knew the facts."
In his letter, Spitzer asks: "How can it be that the same hospitals that claim poverty and demand billions of dollars in state subsidies can afford to sustain a $65 million 'education fund,' contribute $22.5 million to political campaigns since 1999, and spend $12.7 million on lobbying since 2003?"
Spitzer also tried to appeal to the financial acumen of the many CEOs who sit on the hospital boards, including Loews Corp.'s James Tisch (Mount Sinai), Citigroup's Lewis Kaden (Continuum Health System) and Morgan Stanley's John Mack (New York-Presbyterian).
"Don't smart management principles dictate that hospitals will be able to absorb this minimal and short-term revenue loss - just 0.2% of New York's hospitals' total operating revenue?" Spitzer wrote.
Spitzer said that his budget actually expands health coverage to the uninsured and asked, "Doesn't that have to be the state's first priority?"
GNYHA replied: "The budget has nothing to do with executive compensation. It has everything to do with cutting a hospital's ability to care for the poor and uninsured.

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