Archives

May, 2015
Slow Death of the Neighborhood Doctor

Slow Death of the Neighborhood Doctor

(As featured in the Huffington Post)

New York has another name to add to its endangered species list — the individual family doctor.

No one enjoys dealing with insurance companies, especially when you are trying to obtain coverage for a medical procedure. Spending hours on the phone, or going back and forth over bills or pre-authorization for a test, can make anyone’s blood boil. Now imagine if that was your job.

For many physicians throughout New York State, negotiating with insurance companies has become a primary component of their job description. Your average small family doctor may spend more time trying to get an insurer to cover a visit than he or she does caring for actual patients.

A new study by WalletHub.com has highlighted some of these issues and has dubbed New York one of the worst states for doctors to practice medicine.

The repercussions are clear. Patients’ wait times are increasing and the time spent with the physician is getting shorter. Individual physician practices have very little ability to negotiate one-on-one with large insurance companies, because they are too small. However, if the law allowed them to group together with other small practices to negotiate contracts, patients would receive better care and have more of their medical bills covered.

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It’s all about the money in politics

It’s all about the money in politics

(Originally Featured in the Long Island Herald)

If I say the words “Citizens United,” you might think I’m referring to some community action group or maybe a new local bank. But thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, Citizens United has diminished the value of your vote on Election Day and added to the public’s cynicism about voting.

In 2010, the court was asked to decide whether there should be a limit on the amount of money that is given to political candidates and committees. The court decided that the sky’s the limit, and got us into a mess that undermines the American political system.

Most voters think that when they go to the polls, their votes count. In state and local elections, they do count. The money spent in New York state on political contests is substantial, but there’s still a chance for an outsider, with limited funds, to win an election. There are some odd cases, of course, like the $70 million plus spent by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to win another term, and the $35 million spent by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to beat an underfunded and weak opponent.

Times have changed, and these days there is heavy pressure on candidates to raise a lot of money, even if they’re candidates for a seat on a local school board. My first election campaign, in 1965, had a budget of $7,500, and I had to borrow money to get to that goal. My last contest, in 1989, cost $125,000, and I didn’t have a serious opponent.

2015 Legislative Successes

The year 2015 has already been a great success for Empire Government Strategies. We have developed a broad-based coalition of health care professionals to advocate for patients and community doctors.  Our team assisted the charter bus industry in defeating an unnecessary transportation fee that would have cost small bus owners millions.  We were also successful in helping to stop a regulatory proposal that would have affected the plumbing and utility industries to the tune of over $200 million.  Lastly, Empire assisted in obtaining important capital dollars for a local government on Long Island.  

“Empire is proud of what we have been able to achieve for our clients during the first half of this legislative session,” said Jerry Kremer, Founder of EGS.  “As a former Assemblyman, I know how challenging the government process can be, especially for its citizens.  Our goal is to unpack and simplify the process for the client and develop a clear strategy that makes sense and one that is focused on reaching their objectives.”