September 22, 2009
New York's health care providers have a new champion in state Sen. Tom Duane, D-Manhattan, chair of the Health Committee. Mr. Duane methodically laid out arguments on why the industry should be spared from cuts in this round in an Aug. 21 letter to state leaders, including Gov. David Paterson and Democratic Sens. John Sampson, Malcolm Smith, Pedro Espada and Jeffrey Klein.
“The health care sector should be spared midyear cuts, which wreak havoc on institutions' ability to effectively plan and manage,” he wrote. He explained that the state's own health reforms were not fully implemented, and more change would be unfair to providers. He also supported higher reimbursement to pharmacies to offset upcoming cuts (Pulse, Sept. 18). With the nature and extent of federal reform still unclear, he wrote, “it would be prudent to delay any further changes in health care reimbursement and any additional cuts to providers.”
Hospitals, nursing homes and other providers are bracing for potential cuts as the state tries to tackle a $2.1 billion deficit. For weeks, hospital executives and 1199 SEIU officials have tried to convince lawmakers to spare health care from more cuts or taxes. Those efforts were in preparation for tomorrow's scheduled leaders' meeting of the Senate and Assembly leaders.