Paterson’s Office Responds to 1199, Off-Air

ALBANY—The governor's office is responding to an ad blitz released against him and his proposed hospital cuts this morning by GNYHA and 1199. But not in kind.

Health Commissioner Dr. Richard Daines called the ad–which at one point shows what appears to be a blind man in a wheelchair asking why the governor is "doing this" to him–"crass."

Dennis Whalen, the governor's director of operations called it "emotional," "fear-inspiring," and from a "well-worn playbook."

Daines even invoked the Book of Jeremiah (5:21) in denouncing the imagery.

But Whalen said that Paterson, unlike Governor Eliot Spitzer, would not take to the airwaves to respond, and would instead rely on "press releases and discussions."

UPDATE: Horowitz has a write-up of Paterson’s response from an event earlier today here.

Below is a prepared statement from Paterson’s office:

The claims in the advertisement released today by SEIU / 1199 and GNYHA are misleading and factually inaccurate. New York spends far more than every other state on health care and would continue to do so even if the savings proposals included in the Executive Budget are adopted. In the face of this unprecedented economic crisis, every other sector is finding ways to deliver services more efficiently, and the health care industry must do the same. Unfortunately, the heal care industry is using old tactics at a time when we are facing fundamentally new challenges. As we confront a record $15.4 billion budget gap – the most challenging fiscal environment in generations and nearly three times the size of the deficit closed last April – it is absolutely necessary to implement reforms that will make our health care system more affordable.