Dear Governor Pataki,
I’m glad to hear that you’ve started to recover. You must really be getting tired of being in the hospital; after all, it’s been nearly two weeks since Feb. 16th, when you first went in for your appendectomy at the Hudson Valley Hospital in Westchester. When you were transferred to New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical School on the 21st, that was probably been the only time you’ve gotten out since your operation.
But now, the doctors say things are starting to look up, and you should be released pretty soon. I bet you’re excited to get back to work, up in Albany. After all, I’m sure all that time lying in hospital beds has given you time to think.
You’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking just how lucky you are to have such comprehensive health coverage, to allow you a two-week hospital stay when you need it – and in two of the finest hospitals in the state. After all, nearly 3 million New Yorkers have no health insurance coverage at all. Most of those nearly 3 million (2.1 million, or 72%) are employed, full-time.
We have a safety net for the elderly, the unemployed and the very poor; but more and more working families in New York are being left uninsured or underinsured by big employers looking to cut corners. Sometime, the uninsured fall into the over-burdened public health care system, (and we tax-payers have to pick up the slack). Sometimes, they simply go without, paying out of pocket for medical expenses. That’s why medical emergencies are the single largest cause of bankruptcy in the country.
So you must be excited to get back to work and begin to address the state’s health care crisis, aided by your new perspective on just how crucial health coverage is. That’s why I know you’ll decide to support Fair Share for Health Care, and force large employers to pay a minimum amount of their employees’ health coverage, and cover 450,000 working people in New York. While you’re at it, I’m sure you’ll also support the Prescription Drug Purchasing Pool—this will allow us to negotiate collectively with pharmaceutical companies, saving money for working people across the state, as well as all the state’s taxpayers.
I’m as excited for you to get better, get out of the hospital and back to Albany as you are. Please, Governor, help show that health care policy can be humane, fiscally sensible and, at the same time, level the playing field for responsible local businesses struggling to compete against large profitable corporations like Wal-Mart. And show us all that when you’ve gotten out of the hospital, you really have gotten better.
WFP College Club Coordinator