Governor's Second "Partnership for Coverage" Hearing Held in Buffalo

Patient Advocates, Physicians, Business, Insurance Industry Representatives Among Those Testifying

Buffalo, NY, October 3, 2007 - The second of six public hearings to be held across New York State was held today in downtown Buffalo in connection with Governor Eliot Spitzer's "Partnership for Coverage" initiative to make affordable, patient-centered health care available to all New Yorkers.

At the Governor's direction, the hearing was conducted by New York State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., and Deputy Insurance Superintendent Troy Oechsner to obtain public input on proposals for achieving health system reform and affordable universal coverage. Approximately 20 representatives of patient advocacy agencies, health care providers, the insurance industry, business and labor groups presented testimony.

"This hearing today is about finding ways that we can economically extend coverage to those Western New Yorkers who lack health insurance and don't qualify for any of these existing programs, said Commissioner Daines. "Improvements in health care quality and affordability must go hand in hand with efforts to expand health insurance coverage, because if we don't improve New York's health care delivery system, we won't have the resources to achieve universal coverage."

"I expect this hearing to be extremely helpful," said Deputy Superintendent Oechsner. "It is essential that we hear from stakeholders, experts, and most of all the public on making health care affordable and accessible for all. While there is widespread consensus on the goals, we need everyone's wisdom and support for a practical set of building blocks for accessible and affordable health care."

The hearing also featured two health care experts: James Tallon, president of the United Hospital Fund and former Lieutenant Governor Stan Lundine.

The remaining hearings will be held on October 30 in New York City; November 13 in Syracuse; November 26 in Rochester; and December 5 on Long Island. A call-in hearing will be conducted on October 10 from 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. All individuals planning to attend a hearing or call the phone hearing must pre-register with the New York State Department of Health or the New York State Department of Insurance. To pre-register or for more information on the hearings and the Partnership for Coverage initiative, please visit: http://partnership4coverage.ny.gov.