Monday, September 29, 2008

NYS Nurses Association Endorses Addabbo for Senate - Addabbo Proposes 3 Point Plan to Reform Health Care - Thursday September 25th at City Hall, NYC..



Standing on the steps of City Hall, Joe Addabbo received the resounding endorsement of the New York State Nurses Association.

"Mr. Addabbo's record shows strong support for nursing and healthcare issues," said Tina Gerardi, CEO of the New York State Nurses Association. "As City Council Chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor, he has also advanced legislature and initiatives of importance to nurses. We wish him success in his bid for the Senate."

Carol Pittman, NYSNA Community Affairs Representative; Gloria Qualles, RN, Queens Hospital; Glennie Millard, NYSNA Nursing Representative; Randi Hoffman, NYSNA Assistant Director of Communication; and Councilman Addabbo

“Healthcare is one of the primary concerns of the 21st century as the cost of coverage escalates and insurance companies continue to encroach upon the clinic. We need to put health care back into the hands of the doctors and nurses who think first about the patient, and second about the bill. I am proud to accept NYSNA’s endorsement and look forward to working together to lower the cost of prescription drugs and out of control insurance premiums. We can do better,” said Councilman Addabbo.

Carol Pittman, NYSNA Community Affairs Representative; Gloria Qualles, RN, Queens Hospital; Glennie Millard, NYSNA Nursing Representative; Randi Hoffman, NYSNA Assistant Director of Communication; and Councilman Addabbo

Addabbo took the opportunity to layout a three-point proposal to address the escalating cost of health care in New York State.

1) Single Source Drug Coverage

Carol Pittman, NYSNA Community Affairs Representative;

Gloria Qualles, RN, Queens Hospital; Councilman Addabbo; and

Glennie Millard, NYSNA Nursing Representative


A May report released by Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) revealed that insurance companies are denying or restricting access to single source drugs with no generic equivalent. Drugs like Lipitor, Plavix, Lexapro, and Advair treat common conditions such as high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and asthma.

Carol Pittman, NYSNA Community Affairs Representative;

Gloria Qualles, RN, Queens Hospital; Councilman Addabbo; and

Glennie Millard, NYSNA Nursing Representative


Medical decisions should be the purview of a doctor and patient, not a bureaucrat, and as such, Addabbo supports legislation which would require that all medically necessary prescription medications approved by the FDA be covered by the insurance company.

Carol Pittman, NYSNA Community Affairs Representative;

Gloria Qualles, RN, Queens Hospital; Councilman Addabbo; and

Glennie Millard, NYSNA Nursing Representative


2) Convert Life Insurance to Long Term Care Coverage

Addabbo supports a proposal which would allow New Yorkers to convert the anticipated value of their whole life insurance policies into immediate, but discounted, cash to pay for the long term care they require either at the end of their lives or in the event of a disabling health crisis.

Carol Pittman, NYSNA Community Affairs Representative;

Gloria Qualles, RN, Queens Hospital; Councilman Addabbo; and

Glennie Millard, NYSNA Nursing Representative


This measure would reduce state Medicaid expenditures by providing more liquid assets that New Yorkers can use to pay for their nursing home and home health care needs.

3) Expand the Income Threshold for EPIC (Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage)

Carol Pittman, NYSNA Community Affairs Representative;

Gloria Qualles, RN, Queens Hospital; Councilman Addabbo; and

Glennie Millard, NYSNA Nursing Representative


EPIC is a New York State program that helps seniors pay for their prescription drugs. More than a of a quarter million EPIC enrollees are saving an average of 90 % of the cost of their medicines. Most enrollees have Medicare Part D or other drug coverage, and use EPIC to lower their drug costs even more by helping them pay the deductibles and co-payments required by their other drug plan. EPIC also helps members pay for Medicare Part D premiums.

Carol Pittman, NYSNA Community Affairs Representative;

Gloria Qualles, RN, Queens Hospital; Councilman Addabbo; and

Glennie Millard, NYSNA Nursing Representative

Currently, the eligibility requirements for EPIC are capped at 35K for an individual and 75K for a couple. Addabbo supports existing legislation (S2257) to expand the income threshold to 50K for an individual and 75K for a couple.

Carol Pittman, NYSNA Community Affairs Representative; Gloria Qualles,

RN, Queens Hospital; and Councilman Addabbo


If coverage were expanded, an additional 35,172 seniors in Queens County would be eligible for EPIC.

All of these approximately 35,000 newly eligible seniors would be protected from the gap in Medicare Part D coverage which totals $1,650, the Medicare Part D “blackout” period between $2,400 and $4,050 in prescription expenses.

John O'Connor, NYSNA Organizer; Carol Pittman, NYSNA Community Affairs Representative; Gloria Qualles, RN, Queens Hospital; Councilman Addabbo; and Glennie Millard, NYSNA Nursing Representative

However, historical trends in EPIC enrollment show that, at the high end of income eligibility, only a small percentage, 10%, of eligible seniors enroll in EPIC. This is primarily due to the availability of alternative coverage and high deductibles at the upper end of EPIC coverage.



John O'Connor, NYSNA Organizer and Carol Pittman, NYSNA Community

Affairs Representative



Using the historical EPIC participation rate of 10% of those eligible, approximately 3,500 of the 35,000 newly eligible would enroll in EPIC.

However, if only 3,500 Queens seniors were to enroll, they could still see aggregate savings of $5.8 million due to EPIC coverage of the Medicare Part D gap.

John O'Connor, NYSNA Organizer and Carol Pittman, NYSNA Community Affairs Representative

The measure would also obviously result in considerable Medicaid savings as well.

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