HUDSON–State Senator Kemp Hannon (R-6th), chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, and Senator Roy McDonald, chairman of the Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee met with senior staff members of Columbia Memorial Hospital to discuss issues facing the hospital.
The meeting with the staff was not open to the public, but the two senators met with the press before the session. Mr. Hannon, responding to a question about the health insurance exchanges called for under the federal Affordable Care Act, said it was not politics that had led New York to lag in the creation of an exchange, but rather the problem of determining the “mechanics” of this new way for people to buy health insurance. He said the state has still not decided whether the exchange would be regulated by its own board or by the state insurance department.
Governor Andrew Cuomo recently began the process of creating the exchange by executive order after the legislature could not agree on a plan.
Senator Hannon, whose district is on Long Island, said the big question ahead for the state is the “affordability” of healthcare and of the Medicaid program in particular, which the new healthcare law expands. “What’s it going to cost the state treasury?” Mr. Hannon asked.
Mr. McDonald does not currently represent Columbia County, but he will run for reelection in a redrawn district that encompasses the county. He said that unlike many other hospitals he has dealt with in his district, Columbia Memorial operates its own mental health facility, and he was prepared to discuss special issues pertaining to that unit with hospital staff.