The Senate Resolution funds several vital initiatives that support children and families, but undermines health coverage and planning and delays adult home residents’ transitions to community living.
Investment in Early Childhood
The Schuyler Center applauds the Senate for its strong support for universal pre-kindergarten and afterschool. Both help ensure kids have a strong foundation to succeed in school and support families. We are sure that the Legislature and the Governor can ultimately agree on how help get more children the benefits of Pre-K, supporting both increased State funding and New York City’s revenue generation plan.
We were also pleased that the Senate dedicated funds to support maternal-infant home visiting programs, like Nurse-Family Partnership and Healthy Families NY, and child care subsidies and proposes to cap child care co-payments for low-income families. The current child care system is fractured and does not meet the needs of all eligible families at 200% of poverty, so although we support the Senate’s intent to allow families up to 400% of poverty to get child care subsidies, significantly more resources are needed to make this a reality.
As strong as the Senate is on early care and learning, we are very concerned with some of its positions on health. It is hard to understand how the State would benefit from defunding New York State of Health, the country’s most successful health insurance exchange, which has gotten 600,000 New Yorkers covered in under six months. The Senate indicates it is receptive to a Basic Health Program in New York to assure low- and moderate-income people access to quality affordable health coverage. We urge policymakers to move forward with Basic Health Program. We also welcome the Senate’s support for ‘out-of-network’ and ‘surprise billing’ protections. Payment negotiations should be left between providers and insurance companies.
The Senate rejects investment in regional health planning, which is sorely needed in New York’s shifting health care landscape. Regional planning has proven to improve efficiency and effectiveness in health care, bringing together stakeholders to transform regional health care systems to address prevention, access, cost, quality, and population health.
Also of concern, the Senate Resolution includes language that could hamper the ability of adult home residents with psychiatric disabilities to move to community-based settings if they so desire. For the first time in many years, there is funding and a process to help those residents to move to community housing, if they wish, and the creation of another workgroup or changes to the regulations are unnecessary.
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