Monday, March 05, 2007

WHY I'M FIGHTING THE HEALTH-CARE REFORMS NEW YORK NEEDS

New York Post Eliot Spitzer

Talk about a little pressure being put on the State Legislature....yikes...the spotlight is on..no place to run....no place to hide..you can bet Eliot will keep that glaring light on as long as it takes to reform our dysfunctional health-care system.........andy

March 5, 2007 -- IF New York's health-care system were a patient, it would be in critical condition.
We spend far more on health care than any other state. And what do we have to show for it? Some of the worst health-care outcomes in the nation.
Over two and a half million New Yorkers lack health insurance. New York has the nation's worst rate of deaths from chronic disease. One in four children is obese. The highest asthma rates in the country are right here in New York City.
We face this crisis because special interests - not the needs of patients - have guided health-care policy decisions in Albany.
My plan for health-care reform would transform our health care system into one that puts the needs of patients first.
I would make insurance available to every child in New York right away and reduce the overall number of uninsured by half over four years. I would not cut Medicaid benefits. I would increase public-health funding to prevent diabetes, obesity, asthma, lead poisoning, HIV/AIDS and cancer. I would use the state's bargaining power to cut the price it pays for prescription drug and improve care for seniors.
These proposals would be funded in part by holding down the growth in the bloated subsidies the state now provides to hospitals with relatively few Medicaid patients.
Not surprisingly, Big Health Care has objected to this proposal. They claim the most vulnerable patients and hospitals would be hurt.
This is nonsense. The total impact on hospitals would be less than 1 percent of total operating revenues. For the sake of comparison, hospital revenues have increased by an annual average of 7 percent over the past four years.
In addition, my plan would actually provide more funding for the 20 hospitals that serve the highest numbers of low-income, Medicaid patients.
It's clear that these hospitals aren't trying to protect patients. They're trying to protect the pipeline of billions in public money that has flowed to them for years without any accountability.
These special interests have gotten their way in Albany in the past. They have always claimed the best thing for patients was more taxpayer subsidies for well-off hospitals.
And what have we gotten in return? A broken health-care system with ever-higher spending, ever-higher taxes, ever-higher numbers of uninsured and some of the worst health in the nation.
New York voters know our health-care system is broken, and that comprehensive reform is needed. They know that the special interests' cries for more public money do not represent real reform.
In the coming weeks, the debate over health care will shift to the Legislature. Will legislators side with the people, who are demanding real reform? Or will they side with the special interests that are simply demanding ever more public money?
I urge all New Yorkers to watch closely.
Eliot Spitzer is governor of New York.

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