NY Dems: President Obama and Governor Paterson’s Commitment to Health Care Reform will Benefit New York’s Working Families

(NEW YORK, NY) –  Today, key stakeholders in health care reform joined President Obama at the White House to announce their commitment to achieving a sharp reduction in the nation’s health care costs.  Their plans to prioritize preventative care, manage chronic illnesses, curtail unnecessary tests and procedures, standardize insurance claim forms and use electronic medical records could save the nation 1.5 percent a year, or $2 trillion over the next 10 years. This, coupled with Governor Paterson’s efforts in New York, has put us on the path to making significant changes that will benefit New Yorkers across the state.

Six health care industry groups including executives of the Advanced Medical Technology Association, a lobby for medical device manufacturers; the American Hospital Association; the American Medical Association; the America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group for insurers; the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; and the Service Employees International Union met with the President today and presented him a letter pledging to pursue efforts like those outlined above to make significant costs savings in the health care system over the next ten years.  These groups represent a “strange bedfellows” coalition of competing interests which have concluded that health care costs are rising at an unsustainable rate and most be curtailed.

June O’Neill, New York State Democratic Committee Chair, issued the following statement after the announcement at the White House:

“Health care industry leaders joined President Obama today to announce their commitment to working with the Administration to sharply reduce national health care spending.  By 2014, a family of four could save $2,500 a year.  This will provide much-needed relief for working families in New York who are struggling to make ends meet.

The President’s announcement today with these ‘strange bedfellows’ is nothing short of historic and will provide the momentum we need to get broader health care reform passed by Congress this year.  Reforming health care is the key to restoring financial stability and securing our fiscal future.

We know that there is much more to be done to reform our health care system, but today’s announcement is an important step toward comprehensive reform. We applaud President Obama for the work that he has done thus far and for his on-going commitment to making the real changes we need.  President Obama has demonstrated that he has the ability to bring people together and provide the leadership our country needs to make health care reform a reality.

Here at home, Governor Paterson has also been working to make significant changes to our health care system so that New Yorkers can receive the care they deserve.  In January, the Governor announced plans for legislation to expand health insurance coverage for family members up to the age of 29.  He also recently announced that the state will provide $175 million in new funding to further the restructuring of our health care system and his budget included major reforms that will create record savings for tax payers.

The Governor’s continued work to improve our health care system on a local level, combined with the President’s on-going efforts to make major reforms, is the type of proactive and positive change we need.

The New York State Democratic Committee looks forward to working with Governor Paterson, President Obama and our Congressional leaders to harness the growing momentum for reform and chart a course toward a patient-centered health care system that reduces costs, preserves individual choice and assures quality affordable care for every New Yorker.  As the President has said time and time again, reform is not a luxury that can be postponed, but a necessity that cannot wait.”

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