March 20, 2009

Senator Gillibrand Announces $39 Million Increase for New York Hospitals Serving Uninsured

Federal Dollars From American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Will Help Hospitals Treat Most Vulnerable Patients

Washington, D.C. - New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced a more than $39 million increase for New York hospitals serving uninsured and vulnerable populations. Senator Gillibrand helped secure the federal dollars in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. New York State will now have more than $1.6 billion to pay qualifying hospitals this year.

"Families across New York without health care coverage often rely on treatment at our local hospitals," said Senator Gillibrand. "During these tough economic times, it is more important than ever that our families continue to receive the care they need. But our hospitals cannot be left to foot the bill. These federal dollars will help keep hospital doors open to the people who need care most."

More than 45 million Americans, including 2.5 million New Yorkers, are uninsured. Yet the hospitals that serve the most vulnerable populations are struggling. Hospitals in New York City are reporting job cuts and possible additional layoffs.  These hospitals need additional federal funding in order to continue to provide care to uninsured families.

Hospitals that serve a disproportionate share of low-income or uninsured individuals and are called Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH).  New York State will receive the federal dollars and make payments to DSH hospitals to account for higher costs associated with treating uninsured and low-income patients.  The funding comes out of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Senator Gillibrand has been a leader in promoting health care access and affordability throughout her time in Congress.  As a mother of two young children, she understands the struggle families face to find affordable, quality care.  Now she is working with President Obama and his administration to fix America's broken health care system to provide affordable, quality health care to every single American.

In February, Senator Gillibrand worked with President Obama to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which was then signed into law. This law will provide 11 million lower and middle income children access to basic health care coverage.

Senator Gillibrand was a fierce advocate for this law, voting in the House of Representatives seven times to expand the program. In fact, she was the only Member of Congress to vote in both the House and the Senate for the expansion that was signed into law, and she joined President Obama at the White House when he signed the bill.