View all Events

New York's Uninsured: Looking Back and Moving Forward?

Tuesday December 2007

MR. PAUL HOWARD: The Manhattan Institute's Center for Medical Progress encourages the development of market-based public policies that promote medical innovation and improve public health. In addition to hosting conferences like this one, the Center for Medical Progress publishes original and periodical reports, books, and op-eds that remind policymakers of the connection between healthy, well-functioning markets and high-quality, affordable health care. Our published material can be found at the Manhattan Institute's website:

Our title today, "Looking Back and Moving Forward," was meant to convey that current New York policymakers have to look backward before they move forward with comprehensive or universal health-care reform. Today’s health-care markets have been constrained in many ways, for better and for worse, by the decisions of previous regulators, governors, and legislators. Gridlock in Washington over health-care reform has thrust states back into their time-honored role as laboratories for new social policies. This is, in many ways, a welcome development. Just as Wisconsin led the way in welfare reform, states like Massachusetts and perhaps even New York can help guide the nation toward a workable consensus on issues such as covering the uninsured.

Our intention today is twofold. Our first panel will explore the history of insurance reform in New York, discuss the demographics of New York’s uninsured, explore why insurance remains so expensive in the individual and small-group markets, and consider how various reform proposals can create more affordable access to health care. Our second panel will discuss reform experiments in other states and explore the lessons that those efforts hold for New York policymakers.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, our luncheon keynote speaker, is a former Congressional Budget Office director. He will discuss whether health-care reform should include an individual mandate to obtain health insurance. Democratic presidential candidates have proposed it, Republican governors have imposed it, and health analysts have debated it. I'll let Doug decide where he stands.

It is now my honor to introduce Dr. James R. Knickman, the first president and CEO of the New York State Health Foundation. Dr. Knickman comes to New York State Health with tremendous experience and expertise in health-care analysis and policy development. Prior to joining the foundation, Dr. Knickman was vice president of research and evaluation at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where he was responsible for external evaluation of national initiatives. Throughout his fourteen-year tenure there, he led grant-making teams in the areas of clinical care for the chronically ill, long-term care services, and population health.