Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Team Tish will be doing a few (2-3) posts on healthcare specifically in relation to the budget cuts. We feel this is a timely and appropriate discussion to have following tonight's informative community forum on how healthcare institutions will be affected by the economic bailout and recession, specifically the budgets cuts proposed by Governor Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg on the State and City levels. These cuts have been made public (as most of you probably are aware, the New York City Council Committee hearings concerning the Mayor's financial plan are are being held from November 17-24th). The City Financial Plan updates can be found here:

A few things that we'd like to point out are some statistics (fun!) regarding healthcare access in the United States:

-The United States government covers around 28% of the US population's health insurance through programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, etc. (U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007)

-The Commonwealth Fund, an organization that promotes health care interests, puts the number of US adults between the ages of 19 and 64 with no insurance, sporadic insurance, or insufficient insurance at 60 Million, or 35% of the US population. (The Commonwealth Fund, Insured But Not Protected: How Many Adults are Underinsured?)

-The exact number of uninsured adults in the US was $45 million in 2007 (U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007), and expected to increase by at least 2 Million in 2008 (Kaiser Family Fdtn, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured)

-About half of federal expenditures outside of defense and interest are devoted to people ages 65 and up. Population aging alone- a result of the baby boomers generation- is expected to cause Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid costs to rise by about 3.5% of the GDP by 2030. (Urban Institute, Can Faster Economic Growth Bailout Our Retirement Programs?)

-Additionally, the much-talked-about State and City budget cuts include cuts to health and social services- including but not limited to Oral Health Services, a Manhattan STD clinic, Summer School Nurses & Dentists, and reductions in the Health and Hospital Corporation’s budget.

-There are a number of health organizations and non-profits which may be able to aid residents. Please click on the picture below for a working list that provide services to residents in the 35th District:

What We’re Currently Doing:

-Council Member James has shown support for the implementation of a universal healthcare program that is a fair and balanced structure that takes into consideration our currently fragile economy. She has co-signed onto Res. 75, which is supportive of a universal healthcare plan. The resolution may be found here:

-Our office is currently hearing alternative budget proposals from organizations that focus on fiscal policy. The Council Member’s position feels strongly that in consideration of State and City budget cuts, social services should be at the bottom of the list of services cut. Alternative cuts are currently being researched and we hope to develop some proposals soon. The Council Member’s position is that “across the board” cuts are unacceptable (these would include cuts on childrens and senior services, education, housing, health, etc.)

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