Expanding Health Care a Common Target for California, New York
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) this year plans to focus on expanding access to health coverage for children and adults statewide -- a mission similar to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) health care reform proposal for Californians, the Los Angeles Times reports (Halper, Los Angeles Times, 3/6).
Spitzer wants to extend access to health coverage for all 500,000 uninsured children in the state. His plan includes increasing enrollment in state programs for uninsured children who already qualify.
Approximately two-thirds of uninsured children are in families with income levels that meet the requirements for Medicaid or Child Health Plus -- New York's insurance program for low- and moderate-income children -- but are not enrolled. Families with incomes up to 160% of the federal poverty level qualify for no-cost coverage, while families with incomes up to 250% of the federal poverty level are eligible for coverage through Child Health Plus with a monthly premium.
New York state law allows any child, regardless of income, to be enrolled in Child Health Plus through monthly premiums that average $200.
For uninsured adults, Spitzer said that New York within four years "will enroll the 900,000 Medicaid-eligible adults" by simplifying paperwork (California Healthline, 1/4).
The Times notes that Spitzer's plan to redistribute Medicaid funding would result in financial losses for hospitals and other medical facilities. The financial downfall could result in large job losses for the health care workers union, one of the most influential groups in the New York capitol, according to the Times.
In addition, Spitzer and Schwarzenegger both list funding for stem cell research as a priority (Los Angeles Times, 3/6).