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Healthcare proposals draw reaction from lawmakers ahead of State of the State Address

As New Yorkers anticipate Governor Kathy Hochul’s upcoming State of the State Address, her recent health care proposals have garnered attention and mixed reactions from lawmakers. The governor’s initiatives aim to alleviate medical debt, restrict hospitals from suing low-income patients, and remove insurance copays for insulin, which she claims will be the nation’s most expansive insulin cost-sharing prohibition.

State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the Senate Health Committee, expressed general support for Hochul’s proposals but emphasized the need for detailed analysis, particularly regarding fiscal impacts. He highlighted improving insulin access as a legislative priority.

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Conversely, Health Committee Ranking Member Senator Pat Gallivan raised concerns about the financial implications of such proposals on the state’s economy. He acknowledged the heavy financial burden of diabetes on New York families but stressed the importance of fiscal balance.

Lev Ginsburg, Executive Director of the New York State Conference of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans, criticized the focus on insurance copays. He argued that the real issue lies in the high costs charged by companies for insulin, a century-old product, and not with health insurers.

Responding to these concerns, Justin Henry, Deputy Communications Director for Hochul’s office, emphasized the governor’s commitment to reducing health costs for New Yorkers with diabetes. He criticized insurers for pointing fingers instead of addressing the financial hardships faced by those with the disease.

Additionally, Governor Hochul proposed increasing the maximum benefit for paid medical and disability leave and enhancing prenatal care to ease the financial strain of childbirth. These initiatives are part of her broader agenda focused on affordability and financial relief for New Yorkers.