Advice for the New Mayor
Savas, E. S.
Heinemann, H. Erich
Wriston, Walter B.
Elizabeth McCaughey Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute
Read the fine print in President Clinton's health-care bill, then lobby to defeat it. The bill would deprive New Yorkers of access to the health care they need and drive employers from the city.
The president's bill provides for a system of "community rating," which means everyone in a "regional alliance" would pay the same rate for health coverage and the premiums collected would have to be stretched to cover everyone's needs-including the AIDS patient, the assault victim, and the low-birth-weight baby. (It costs $63,000 to treat a baby born addicted to crack.) People would figure out that you pay the highest premiums and get the least health care in alliances with inner-city problems. Employers, mandated to pay 80 percent of their workers' premiums, would have another reason to abandon cities.
To make matters worse, the bill would shift costs now paid partly by the Federal Government onto the local alliances. For example, the bill halts Medicaid payments for the chronically ill ($4.9 billion to New York City residents in 1991) and subsidies to urban hospitals that treat the poor ($800 million to New York City hospitals the same year). Costs taken off the federal budget are called "savings" by the Clinton administration, but the cost shift amounts to a new tax on New York residents and employers, hidden inside their "premiums." Universal health coverage is an important goal, but making urban residents and businesses pick up most of the tab would devastate New York's economy.