The Politics of Health

In proposing reforms for the health care industry, the City Council said today that insurance companies should “give back” a portion of their profits to the local communities they serve.

That’s one of the Council’s 24 recommendations.

The recommendations, politically speaking, are meant to preempt the Dec. 1 recommendations of the Berger Commission — the independent state panel currently reviewing which hospitals the state should close.

The stakes will be huge, with a ripple effect on next year’s state budget negotiations and the state of play in the next state election.

The recommendations could have a more immediate impact on the Spitzer transition process, determining who gets to benefit from the Democratic takeover in Albany. One narrative strand to follow here, for example will be the reaction of SEIU 1199 to the Berger Commission report — and what they’ll demand in response from the candidates who enjoy (or aspire to enjoy) their support.

As Liz noted, SEIU 1199, the hospital workers union, doesn’t have a seat on Berger Commission, but their union president does have a seat on Spitzer’s transition team.

— Azi Paybarah

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