New revisions to a proposed single-payer health plan for New York State would add tens of billions dollars to the already enormous price tag – and further hinder the state's ability to control costs going forward.
Obamacare enrollment is rising in New York – an exception to the national trend – but not by as much as state officials are implying.
Even as Governor Cuomo pushes for required insurance coverage of in vitro fertilization, he is withholding a study of how much the coverage would cost for premium payers.
Health care was the dog that did not bark at Governor Cuomo's combined State of State and budget address on Tuesday. Instead of announcing a major plan to expand coverage, he called for appointing a commission to study "options for achieving universal access" and report back by December – a clear sign that he has no stomach for tackling the issue in this session.
If the entire Affordable Care Act were struck down as unconstitutional – as a federal judge ruled on Friday – the consequences for New York's health-care system, and the state budget, would be significant. Assuming the decision is upheld on appeal (which many experts doubt), and assuming Congress does not intervene, the state would lose almost $8 billion in federal aid that subsidizes coverage for more than 4 million residents.
The already extraordinary cost of a proposed state-run single-payer health plan jumped even higher this week when the chief sponsor, Assembly Health Chairman Richard Gottfried of Manhattan, announced that it would be expanded to cover long-term care.
In approving the $69 billion merger of CVS and Aetna, the state Department of Financial Services attached a noteworthy condition: The two companies must forward $40 million to the state of New York. It was the second time this year that the Cuomo administration has leveraged its regulatory authority over a health insurance company to extract a large sum of cash.
The latest too-good-to-be-true argument for single-payer comes from Albany City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar, who claims that a government-funded statewide health plan would dramatically reduce property taxes. In reality, the savings for local taxpayers, if any, would likely be a fraction of what Shahinfar estimates. And they would come at the cost of the largest increase in state taxes that New York has ever seen, not to mention wholesale disruption of the entire health-care system.