On January 10, 2023, Governor Kathy Hochul presented her annual State of the State address. Nora OBrien-Suric, PhD, President of the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, offers the following response:
“The trustees and staff of the Health Foundation are encouraged and grateful to see Gov. Hochul has identified several health care and healthy aging initiatives to be prioritized in the coming year, especially considering many align with the Health Foundation’s advocacy platform and work we partner on in the community.
Highlights of these initiatives include:
- Improving Essential Plan coverage to make care affordable and accessible—an issue highlighted extensively in the Health Foundation-sponsored 2022 report by Community Service Society of New York, Narrowing New York’s Health Insurance Gap
- Expanding Medicaid coverage of preventative health services, including Adverse Childhood Experiences screening, screening for social determinants of health needs, and expanded coverage for doula services
- Creating a comprehensive plan to address excessive medical debt and costs
- Ensuring access to community-based aging services and high-quality long-term care
- A sweeping plan to transform the cost and quality of health care in New York State
- Strengthening mental health care services across the state
- Addressing housing and childcare affordability and access—issues that have a significant impact on the Health Foundation’s focus populations of families with young children and older adults
The Health Foundation greatly appreciates Gov. Hochul’s commitment to a platform that could have longstanding, beneficial effects on the health of New Yorkers by making care more affordable and accessible and ensuring all people have what they need to live healthy lives as they age. We encourage her to carry out each of these efforts with the community’s input and best interests in mind.
As a member of the state’s Master Plan for Aging Council Stakeholder Advisory Committee, I look forward to partnering with Gov. Hochul and her team to continue developing an inclusive, comprehensive strategy for healthy aging in New York.”
Additionally, the NYS Master Plan for Aging Coalition praised Governor Hochul’s announcement today on ensuring access to aging services and high-quality long-term care as part of her State of the State report. “We see this as a powerful indication of the Governor’s commitment to having New York adopt a Master Plan for Aging that will benefit not only older adults but all New Yorkers as they age. Freedom to remain in one’s community with holistic services is absolutely critical to building a state where residents will want to live and thrive, something the Governor’s announcement emphasizes. We also especially commend the call for respite care for high-need family caregivers who must be provided with this kind of support to help relieve the burden that caregiving can be. Finally, her recognition of the importance of improved and expanded emergency medical transportation, especially in rural New York, is extremely commendable. This announcement, coming on the heels of her executive order creating the Master Plan, is most welcome and encouraging.”
Bob Blancato, Coordinator
NYS Master Plan for Aging Coalition