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Commentary

Why I'm Fighting The Health Care New York Needs
Eliot Spitzer, New York Post, 3-5-07

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer lays out his plan for health care reform, and criticizes the special interest groups that have driven up health care spending at the expense of patients.

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. 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.



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