New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer vowed to overhaul the state’s health care system to guarantee health insurance for all children and to extend Medicaid coverage to all eligible adults in the state.
At the same time, Spitzer vowed to trim state spending on health care.
In his first “state of the state” address to the New York legislature Jan. 3, the state’s new governor insisted health care in New York was in need of fundamental reform.
“No one can afford health care anymore, not New York’s working families, not our businesses and not our government,” Spitzer said. New York’s uninsured population totals 2.8 million, he said.
In addition to guaranteeing access to health insurance for the state’s 500,000 uninsured children, Spitzer vowed to enroll the state’s 900,000 Medicaid-eligible adults who are now uninsured. He said he would propose a simplified Medicaid enrollment process that would make it easier for qualified individuals to join the program while guarding against fraud.
[U.S. Census Bureau data shows that about 15% of New Yorkers are uninsured. That is just slightly better than the national average of 16%. An analysis by the New York Times estimates Spitzer's plan, if effected, would give New York the lowest rate of uninsured in the nation.]
In the last 15 years, state Medicaid spending rose from 14% of New York’s general budget fund to 35%, Spitzer noted.