In his State of State address Governor Cuomo was blunt about the need for New York to stand strong against federal attacks that harm our most vulnerable citizens. As governor, he has championed policies that help workers and working families, including raising wages for workers, passing a job-protected paid family leave law and advancing regulations to rein in unpredictable scheduling practices.
So it was no surprise to hear the Governor offer a set of new proposals consistent with New York’s long and distinguished history as a leader in health care and expanding coverage and services to its residents, irrespective of their income levels and immigration status. The proposals are significant in that they empower health care consumers, including the remaining uninsured.
New York’s Hospital Financial Assistance Law requires hospitals to provide discounts to low-income uninsured patients. However, many hospitals currently have lengthy, confusing, and burdensome application forms that prevent eligible patients from qualifying for help. In his State of the State, Governor Cuomo proposes to help these patients by enacting three policies: (1) requiring hospitals to simplify their application forms to meet uniform standards; (2) providing an online location for consumers to find the applications for all hospitals in the state; and (3) requiring hospitals to include a link to their financial assistance policies in bills sent to patients.
CSS also lauds the Governor for directing the Department of Financial Services to create a searchable database of prior external appeals. This database will allow consumers and advocates to review redacted decisions, improving transparency, accountability, and uniform application of New York’s consumer protections.
Governor Cuomo said: “In New York we believe health care is a right, not a luxury.” We could not agree more. CSS looks forward to working with the Governor and his administration on expanding access to quality, affordable health care for all New Yorkers.