State Health Commissioner Launches Statewide "Just the Facts Tour" To Discuss Governor Paterson's Health Care Proposals

Will Visit Binghamton, Syracuse, and Buffalo This Week
New YouTube Video Provides the Facts on Health Care Reform

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 3, 2009) - State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., announced today that he is launching a statewide "Just the Facts Tour" this week, beginning in Binghamton, Syracuse and Buffalo, to publicly present the facts about Governor Paterson's health care proposals and urge New Yorkers not to be deceived by lobbyists' advertisements urging excessive, unnecessary spending – spending that won't improve health care, but will exploit taxpayer dollars instead.

"We have a health care system that spends twice as much as any state on care for low-income adults and children, driving up our property taxes through an inefficient structure and making health care more expensive for every New Yorker," Commissioner Daines said. "Governor Paterson has proposed reforms that continue revamping health care to invest in the care we need the most. Every New Yorker should have timely access to appropriate and coordinated care to maintain their health and prevent chronic disease.

"What the hospital associations' ads are not telling New Yorkers is that by reforming our health care system, not only will our fine New York hospitals continue to provide for people with medical emergencies requiring acute care, but our system will focus on developing more outpatient services at community health centers and private-practice doctors – which is vital care that every New York family needs."

Governor Paterson's Executive Budget proposals will rebalance New York's Medicaid reimbursement system so that it supports primary care, improve access to health insurance coverage, and provide long-overdue financial support to New York's community health centers and doctors.

"My offer still stands to debate the Governor's health care reforms with the Greater New York Hospital Association," Dr. Daines said. "But because my invitation has been refused, I will continue to bring public attention to the need for honest, open discussions about health care, not scare tactics that mislead the public."

In addition, Dr. Daines has posted a new video on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-bVpNW8VxQ) presenting the facts of the Governor's health care reimbursement reforms, based on the need of every New Yorker for a medical home with a family doctor will provide checkups and monitor patient health to ward off preventable illness and keep patients healthier, and reserving hospital admissions for people with acute illnesses and medical emergencies.

This week, he has spoken to the Community Health Centers of New York State and the Medical Society of the State of New York. His schedule for this week includes the following events:

  • 11 a.m. Wednesday in Binghamton: Dr. Daines will meet with health care advocates at the Broome County Health Department meeting room, 225 Front St. Telephone is 607-778-3930. He will meet later that day with the editors of the Ithaca Journal.
  • 7:50 a.m. Thursday in Syracuse: Dr. Daines will be a guest on WSYR AM 570 for the Joe Galuski morning news show.
  • 11 a.m. Thursday in Syracuse: Dr. Daines will host a roundtable discussion of the Governor's proposed health care reforms in the Martha Eddy Room located in the Art and Home Center at the State Fairgrounds. He will meet later this day with the editorial board of the Auburn Citizen.
  • 4 p.m. Thursday in Rochester: Dr. Daines will meet with the Rochester Business Journal's editorial board.
  • 10 a.m. Friday in Buffalo: Dr. Daines will meet with health care advocates at the Greater Buffalo Chapter of the American Red Cross, 786 Delaware Ave.

Other events will be announced as they are scheduled.

The Governor's 2009-2010 Executive Budget proposes to:

  • Expand access to health insurance. Partner with the federal government to expand coverage for adults by increasing the income eligibility for Family Health Plus up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level – making more than 400,000 additional New Yorker eligible for lower-cost health insurance coverage.
  • Help New Yorkers enroll in Medicaid, Child Health Plus and Family Health Plus. Remove barriers that prevent eligible New Yorkers from enrolling into public health insurance programs, such as finger-imaging, face-to-face interview requirements and an asset test.
  • Invest in outpatient health services. Invest $300 million in payments to community health centers, hospital clinics, behavioral health providers and doctors.
  • Increase funding to help health clinics treat more people who cannot pay for care. Double indigent care funding for diagnostic and treatment centers from $55 million to $110 million.