New York has long stood as a bastion for what the federal government stands for. The state boasts of one of the most populated and diverse cities in the world where the shortfalls and accolades of the government are highlighted in stark contrast. The state is also home to more than 2.6 million uninsured residents, most of whom cannot afford health insurance. Given the high number of those living in the state without insurance coverage, it would seem that lawmakers in New York would be welcoming to federal health care reform. This, however, is not the case, as legislators are refusing to accept money to help improve the state’s broken health care system.
Last year’s Affordable Care Act set into motion an initiative to broaden the access American citizens have to health insurance. This is to be accomplished through the establishment of health insurance exchanges, which will allow people to find affordable insurance policies from a wide variety of insurance providers. According to federal law, every state in the U.S. must have a fully functioning insurance exchange by 2014, but several states have rebelled against this mandate by refusing to accept funding from the government that is meant to aid in the building of the exchanges. New York is the latest state to refuse such funding.
While New York lawmakers have already passed legislations to approve the building of an exchange, several senators within the Republican Party have successfully halted any progress toward such an end. The primary reasoning behind blocking the money is to send a message to the federal government, decrying the overall health care reform law and ensuring that any program set up in the state will not be controlled by the government.
A special session of the Legislator may be called to resolve the issue in order to avoid missing funding deadlines set up by the government.