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City & State: Q&A with Richard Gottfried on Health and Hospitals

By City & State staff, 2/11/15

Q: Did any healthcare provisions in the governor’s budget stand out?
RG: From what I’ve seen so far, I would not support the hospital private equity pieces they are pursuing. There are good things in there. The governor is advancing proposals similar to what Sen. Gustavo Rivera and I are going to be advancing to promote easier access to clean syringes. Moving forward with advancing integrated delivery system that has to do with care-coordinating is important. It also needs to be done carefully. There are always details we need to watch out for and that’s what we’re beginning a very detailed analysis of now.

Q: What parts of the integrated delivery system need to be watched carefully?
RG: An integrated delivery system can easily become almost a feudal system with a big hospital as the lord and master and that has real peril for patients and for individual healthcare professionals. On the other hand, there are enormous advantages to an integrated system and to well-done care-coordination. So we need to make sure that as much as possible consumers have choice in what system they want to be a part of.

Q: Single-payer healthcare is still a top priority?
RG: Very much so. We are signing up co-sponsors on the bill, particularly among the freshman members of the Assembly. We now have a majority of members in the Assembly as sponsors. We are continuing to increase support in the labor movement and consumer groups and my goal is to have the Assembly pass the bill and reach a stage where, when New Yorkers think about what Albany ought to be doing, that universal health coverage is on everyone’s checklist. Getting the bill passed in the Assembly helps get us to that point. When we are at that point, making this a law becomes an achievable goal.