Thanks to everyone who trekked to Albany yesterday for HCFANY’s People’s Public Hearing! The event was a success by any standard with a diverse audience of over 200 New Yorkers from across the state in attendance. State Health Commissioner Richard Daines, M.D. was also on hand as well as the Governor’s Assistant Deputy Secretary for Health & Human Services Joe Baker and Deputy Superintendant of Insurance, Troy Oeschner, Assemblymembers Richard Gottfried, Jim Brennan, Crystal Peoples, Donna Lupardo, Linda Rosenthal, Vito Lopez, Marc Alessi, and Senators Antoine Thompson, Tom Duane, Neil Breslin, and Eric Schneiderman.
The highlight of the day centered around the 35 people from all over the State who came forward to publicly tell their stories of loved ones lost and lives interrupted due to the failure of our health care system. We heard tearful and angry accounts of hardworking husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, and daughters and sons whose lives could have been saved had it not been for the lack of affordable quality health insurance or the prohibitive cost of medical treatment. Others told stories of being forced to allow debilitating illnesses to spiral out of control and before qualifying for lifesaving government benefits or insurance. Still others recounted minor procedures and illnesses that had grown to financial hardship and personal bankruptcies because they were uninsured or underinsured. Throughout the day, New Yorkers in attendance documented their own stories on paper, letters were written to legislators, and a “Get Well” card was signed for Governor Paterson.
The event coincided with the State Health Department’s release of an interim report to Governor David A. Paterson describing the Departments’ progress to date in developing proposals to achieve universal coverage. The report issued yesterday describes the public input process and provides a general overview of the concerns and positions of the various individuals and organizations that participated in the state’s “Partnership for Coverage” public hearings held last fall.
Thanks again to everyone who helped make the day a success and stay tuned for a complete recap of the day to follow soon!