Senator Krueger & Pro-Choice Caucus Push Obama Admin On Care Inclusion
Fifty-four Assembly members and senators have signed on to a letter circulated by the Bipartisan Pro Choice Legislative Caucus urging the Obama administration to interpret the health care reform law such that state-level health care exchanges include all family planning essential community providers in their networks.
The letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Donald Berwick, administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, notes wait times increased most significantly – up to 70 days in the Boston area – for women’s health care providers when Massachusetts implemented its version of health care reform. The lawmakers don’t want to see that replicated here in New York.
The signatories are mostly Democrats, but Republican Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward and her former GOP colleague, Assemblyman Fred Thiele (now an Independence Party member, but caucusing with with the Democrats) also signed on.
The health care exchange issue is still an open question here in New York. As you’ll recall, the Assembly passed legislation to create an exchange prior to departing Albany this past June, but the Senate balked after some Republicans raised questions about codifying so-called “Obamacare.” Advocates – including Sen. Kemp Hannon, a Long Island Republican who chairs the Senate Health Committee – have noted that the federal government will step in to establish exchanges for those states that don’t do so themselves.
However, despite warnings that New York could lose millions if it doesn’t act soon, the Senate Republicans appear in no rush to return to Albany to deal with the exchange legislation.