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Cuomo Moves Health Care Reform Ahead in NY

April 13, 2012

ALBANY, N.Y. - Brushing aside the Republican-controlled State Senate, which for almost a year had opposed it, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order Thursday creating a statewide health exchange as part of President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

The Assembly had passed the legislation in June, and now - with the move by Cuomo - the exchange will become the mechanism for obtaining federal health coverage subsidies for New Yorkers of moderate-income. Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-75th Dist., Manhattan) praised the move.

"For New Yorkers who are eligible for Family Health Plus or Child Health Plus or Medicaid, it'll make it a lot easier for them to find out if they're eligible and to enroll."

Gottfried believes the challenges in the Supreme Court to Mr. Obama's reform will be unsuccessful. If not, he says, it will still make sense for the state to have a health benefit exchange, making it easier for people to see what kinds of coverage are available and easier to sign up.

Gottfried says this is a boon for moderate-income Empire Staters.

"There are tax credits and other benefits available to help pay for health coverage, but only if you get that health coverage through an exchange."

If the state hadn't acted to set up the exchange, by law the federal government would have done so, adds Gottfried.

"And I think it's a lot better for New Yorkers and will be a lot more responsive to our local needs if this is run by the state rather than by Washington."

According to Gov. Cuomo, the exchange and tax subsidies that will be available from the Affordable Care Act, people who currently buy their coverage directly will see their cost drop by 66 percent. He says it will also enable small businesses to cut costs.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY