Governor David Paterson

David vs. health Goliath: Paterson takes on hospital lobby in $11 billion fight
Sunday, February 22nd 2009, 4:00 AM
signed a stimulus package that includes significant aid to New York. I commend the President and Congress for acting so quickly and welcome the assistance. I am proud of our members of Congress, and my partners in
, who fought so hard for our state.
But let’s make one thing clear: New York’s $24.6 billion share of the federal stimulus, with its many appropriate and targeted restrictions, is not a silver bullet. It will not fund our staggering $48 billion three-year aggregate deficit, nor will it reform anything.
Take health care, for example. Some groups want us to take some $11 billion in stimulus funds and simply pour them into our current health care system – without demanding reform. This would be a terrible mistake.
That’s because two years from now, when the money runs out, we would be stuck with the same failing health care system, and the same huge deficits, as we have now. The only thing that will be different is that we will have wasted 11 billion precious stimulus dollars.
Instead, we must take a different path. We must have the courage to fix what’s wrong with the system before spending more. We must expand health insurance coverage, increase access to primary care, improve public health and make our system more affordable.
Certain interest groups have run TV ads in recent weeks saying we don’t need health care reform. One ad even featured a blind African-American man in a wheelchair looking into the camera and saying, “Governor, why are you doing this to me?”
Put aside the question of whether or not this ad was appropriate. The plain fact is that these ads ignore the truth that all New Yorkers know: Our health care system is broken.
This morning, 2.5 million New Yorkers woke up and began the day hoping and praying they wouldn’t get sick – because they don’t have health insurance.
Today, hundreds of New Yorkers will lose their loved ones to a chronic disease. In many cases it will happen needlessly, because the State of
ranks worst in the nation in percentage of deaths from the five leading chronic diseases.
As we speak, nearly one in four children in our state are suffering from obesity, causing them to have far greater risks for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
And tonight, a child in New York will be rushed to an emergency room, where her life will hang in the balance. Her disease could have been prevented if she had access to a primary care doctor – but she didn’t, because New York reimburses pediatricians, internists and family physicians at one of the lowest rates in the nation.


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