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Report: Health Care Reform Working In NY, But ...

January 6, 2012

ALBANY, N.Y. - The Affordable Care Act is working, according to a new report that says it's already helping millions of New Yorkers, from children to seniors, since its passage in 2010. It adds they'll be even better off if the state passes legislation to set up a health insurance exchange.

The study by the Public Policy and Education Fund cites continuation of New York's Child Health Plus (CHP) program until at least 2019 as one factor, calling that "an incredibly important development."

Kate Breslin, president of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy – which advocates for children, low-income and vulnerable people – agrees.

"Implementing Child Health Plus and maximizing enrollment in it allows families, that otherwise wouldn't be able to afford insurance, to afford insurance for their kids. Child Health Plus has helped to fill in the gap between the relatively low income threshold for Medicaid and those families who don't have health insurance, so keeping it in place is a huge deal."

She is optimistic that the state will create the insurance exchange, which she says will help parents shop for and enroll in policies for their children and themselves. Critics derisively call the Affordable Care Act "Obamacare," and believe its mandate that all Americans be insured is unconstitutional. They're fighting it in court and seeking to repeal it on Capitol Hill.

In the meantime, notes Breslin, Child Health Plus allows parents to cover their children under age 19 at an extremely affordable cost.

Breslin adds she was pleased to hear Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his State of the State address on Wednesday, urge the State Senate to follow the Assembly in passing legislation to create a health insurance exchange.

"He talked about the importance of setting up an exchange and he said, 'We need to do it right away.' And he talked about how much money individuals and small businesses will save in health insurance, if we are able to implement a health insurance exchange."

If the state doesn't set up the exchange the government will establish a federally-operated exchange.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY