Empire State insurance regulators want to hear members of the public talk about strategies for overhauling the way the state regulates health insurers and pays for health care.

The New York State Insurance Department has put out a notice announcing a series of 5 public hearings on the future of the health care system.

“Currently, New York state spends more per capita on health care than any other state in the nation, and our per-enrollee spending for Medicaid is the highest or second-highest in the nation, more than double the amount expended by California,” officials say in the hearing notice.

Despite New York’s high expenditures on health care, the state ranks average or worse on many health and health care quality indicators, officials say.

Officials are asking “the general public, stakeholders in the health care system, academics and others with expertise in this area as well as legislative representatives” to talk to them about “coverage more affordable and accessible to individuals and small businesses.”

Other questions for hearing participants deal with topics such as ways to improve state regulation of health insurance and the role of federal preemption of state regulation of health insurance.

Officials also ask:

- What should an individual’s responsibility be for obtaining and maintaining insurance coverage? Do we need an individual mandate?

- What responsibility should employers have for providing coverage to their employees? … Should a fee be imposed on employers that don’t offer insurance?

- What are the advantages and disadvantages of a single-payer model of universal coverage? Of a multiple-payer model?

- Is there a role for an entity that acts as an insurance exchange or clearinghouse? Should that role be limited to simply acting as a facilitator that directs consumers to insurers, or should it have broader authority to negotiate rates?

A copy of the hearing notice is available