Cuomo addresses health care

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at Westcott Beach State Park last year. Watertown Daily Times

ALBANY — Continuing the theme of tackling the health care industry, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest 2020 State of the State proposal is to increase transparency in health care costs.

Cuomo unveiled recently a proposal that calls for the creation of a website, NYHealthCareCompare, that would allow New Yorkers to compare the costs and quality of procedures at hospitals statewide.

“The cost of many health care procedures has risen in recent years in part because consumers don’t have an easy way to compare prices at different hospitals in their area,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This new website will give New Yorkers the facts they need to make informed decisions about the cost and quality of health care procedures — helping increase competition in the marketplace and driving down prices.”

The website will display health care service costs and qualities by hospital, answer affordability questions and aggregate New York laws and programs related to medical bills and health insurance, hospital and practitioner complaints.

Cuomo’s latest proposal comes a few months after he signed into law the Patient Protection Act, which shields patients from exorbitant out-of-pocket emergency room costs if they visit hospitals or are treated by physicians out of their networks.

Under the new law, health insurance companies are prohibited from charging members who were treated in out-of-network hospitals for emergency visits, as well as inpatient services following the ER visit, more than they would patients who remain in-network.

This proposal is the second in Cuomo’s 2020 State of the State agenda to tackle the health care industry.

In recent weeks Cuomo unveiled a three-pronged plan to lower prescription costs for New Yorkers: capping insulin co-payments at $100 per month for insured patients, allowing the state Department of Financial Services to investigate drug manufacturers over price increases, and creating an expert group to study a Canadian drug importation program.

Massarah Mikati covers the New York State Legislature and immigration for Johnson Newspaper Corp. Email her at, or find her on Twitter @massarahmikati.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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if you like your Doctor, you can keep your Doctor.

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