Memorandum in support of S. 5849 to create New York State insurance exchange

MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF S5849

An Act to amend the public authorities law and the public officers law, in relation to the establishment of the New York Health Benefit Exchange.

RCAL strongly supports the passage of the legislation which would establish a New York State Health Insurance Exchange to offer affordable, quality health coverage — both public and private — to over a million New Yorkers, and enable New York to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed in 2010.

S.5849 was the result of a “three-way agreement” between the Senate, Assembly and the Governor; the Assembly passed the companion version of this bill (A.8514) before the end of the regular 2011 legislative session. Senate action on this legislation is critical.

The passage of S.5849 would ensure that New York State has the support and infrastructure to provide an exchange that will meet the unique needs of state residents. If the state does not pass exchange legislation, under the terms of the ACA, a federally-operated exchange will be established in the state by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, making it much less likely that the needs of New York individuals and businesses will be taken into account.

RCAL supports the creation of a single statewide exchange that: 1) includes quality, affordable, and comprehensive benefit packages, 2) incorporates New York’s public health insurance programs including those that serve people with disabilities or particular illnesses, 3) eases navigation for all consumers and provides consumer representation, and 4) addresses health disparities based on race, ethnicity, primary language, gender, sexual orientation, and disability status. S. 5489 creates a framework that would allow the state to meet these essential standards.

Passage of legislation to establish a functioning exchange needs to happen quickly under the ACA to ensure that New York State remains eligible for over $100 million dollars of federal funding and to give the state enough time to ensure the exchange is operational on January 1, 2014, the date mandated under the federal law.

RCAL commends the progress achieved, thus far, in creating a bill that will ensure the State review studies on a number of critical issues, including health equity, the Basic Health Plan, and active purchasing. Now, we strongly support the passage of S. 5849. For further information, please contact Heidi Siegfried, Director of Health Policy, at 646-442-41457.

Our vision is to create a fully accessible, integrated community without barriers for people with disabilities, and to assist and empower disabled individuals to live independently and participate in all aspects of community life.
August 9, 2011

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