Gov. Paterson, Mayor Bloomberg and other NY pols: Health care bill is prescription for disaster

By Erin Einhorn and Kenneth Lovett in Albany
And Michael McAuliff in Washington
NY Daily News
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Senate health reform bill is packed with lumps of coal for New York’s Christmas stocking.

Gov. Paterson, Mayor Bloomberg and other officials warned the Senate plan would:

– Force the city to close 100 health clinics.

– Blow a $1 billion hole in the state’s budget.

– Threaten struggling hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities.

“It is really a disgrace and we’ve got to make sure that we fight before the bill is finally passed,” Bloomberg fumed.

New York ended up on the short end as Senate brokers showered cash on states whose senators were among the last holdouts before Democratic leaders locked up the 60 needed votes.

New York’s best hope now is emergency surgery to undo the shafting before the bill becomes final.

A health care overhaul passed by the House last month is more generous to the city and state, and negotiations over the differences start in January.

Under the Senate plan, the biggest rewards go the states that, unlike New York, have been Scrooges to the poor in need of medical care.

“We are in a sense being punished for our own charity,” Paterson said Monday.

Paterson was also bitter that states like Massachusetts and Vermont, which were also generous, got last-minute deals that erase their extra costs.

But even more galling is that a place like Nebraska will have the feds pick up 100% of its Medicaid costs, while New York will continue to cover half on its own.

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