Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Christine Quinn's First Legislative Act

Is Christine Quinn still Christine Quinn? Well, the new New York City Council Speaker, perhaps still high from her record-breaking approval numbers, introduced her first piece of legislation. According to the DMI Blog,

In her first legislative move of 2006, Speaker Quinn took a stand against such abuse [hospitals denying underinsured patients health care and harrassing them for bloated fees that they shouldn't have been charged in the first place]. Speaker Quinn announced that she will introduce City legislation, The Patient Information Act, that will force hospitals to share important information about the forms of financial assistance and reduced cost care that are available to patients.

A good symbolic first step, but of course, this is not terribly controversial legislation. The health care lobby is influential, but it doesn't have the Council in its pocket the way certain other lobbies do, and the Council doesn't have much sway here, anyway (unlike with, say, real estate development). Mandating the notification of underinsured patients' various health care options will make a difference at the margin, but it's not like she's done anything to reform or (dare I say it?) stop the Forest City Ratner Atlantic Yards land grab.

Let's see if she's got the guts to stand up to the Council's real puppetmasters, FIRE (finance, insurance, real estate). Will this former tenants' rights organizer reverse decades of City Council corruption, defy her corporate bosses, and prioritize affordable housing? Paraphrasing the great George Bush, she earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I hope she intends to spend it.

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