New York State Department of Health
New York State Insurance Department


ISSUED 05/28/2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:
Health: Claudia Hutton 518-474-7354, ext. 1
Insurance: David Neustadt 212-480-5265

Partnership for Coverage Releases Interim Report
280 People Testify at Public Hearings on Universal Coverage

Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., and Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo today released an interim report to Governor David A. Paterson describing the Departments' progress to date in developing proposals to achieve universal coverage.

In July 2007, the Departments' of Health and Insurance began to study the obstacles to health coverage in the current system and develop recommendations to help make affordable health coverage available to all New Yorkers. The two agencies reached out broadly to the general public, to stakeholders in the health care system, to academic experts in the field and to other states engaged in universal coverage initiatives. The report issued today describes this public input process and provides a general overview of the concerns and positions of the various individuals and organizations that participated in these discussions.

The people of New York are the best ones to ask how their lives are affected by a lack of health insurance coverage, Governor David A. Paterson said. I thank the Legislature for passing the budget proposal to allow children living in families earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level to enroll in Child Health Plus, Family Health Plus and Medicaid. We are aggressively seeking out New Yorkers who are eligible for these public health insurance programs and may not know it. While this will lower the number of New Yorkers without health coverage, it will not be enough. I look forward to the results of the Urban Institute’s report to help us achieve our goal of accessible, affordable coverage for all.

Commissioner Daines also praised the value of the hearings and was particularly impressed by the number of individuals sharing their personal health care experiences as well as by the strong physician turnout. "To hear from so many doctors and patients calling for fundamental change in our health care system was quite compelling," he said.

Superintendent Dinallo stated, "The public hearings were invaluable to us in better understanding the problems New Yorkers face every day, both in obtaining affordable health insurance and, for those that have it, in using their health insurance."

More than 270 people attended the hearings and hundreds of others viewed the hearings via webcast.

Public hearings were held from September-December 2007 in Glens Falls, Buffalo, Manhattan, Syracuse, Rochester and Old Westbury. The Manhattan hearing was a two-day event; the others were one-day events. In addition, a call-in hearing was held for people who could not attend the public meetings. Testimony was taken from 280 people at the hearings. The Partnership for Coverage Web site (http://partnership4coverage.ny.gov) has had nearly 11,300 visits, with more than 61,200 pages viewed to date. All written testimony submitted at the hearings can be viewed on the Web site.

In addition to describing the public hearing process, the report outlines next steps for the Departments in developing reform recommendations. A contract was awarded to The Urban Institute to model various reform proposals for expanding health coverage and to analyze the cost and coverage implications for each proposal. Details on the proposals to be modeled will be made available to the public in June and modeling results are anticipated in the fall. A complete copy of the report can be found at www.partnership4coverage.ny.gov.


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