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Heads up: Insurance hearings spotlight health costs

More than 250,000 New Yorkers have completed applications

More than 250,000 New Yorkers have completed applications for New York's health insurance exchange, and 76,177 have enrolled since it opened Oct. 1, the state announced. (Sept. 5, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

The State Assembly this week begins a series of six public hearings on a bill to launch single-payer access to health insurance for all New Yorkers. Hearings begin Thursday in Syracuse and come to Mineola on Dec. 17.

Assembly health committee chairman Richard Gottfried of Manhattan, the bill's sponsor, says the hearings will highlight more expensive insurance premiums, deductibles and co-payments, as well as shrinking benefits that provide fewer in-network specialists. Although nearly a million New Yorkers signed up for Obamacare in its first year, an estimated 1.5 million still lack coverage.

Gottfried's bill actually passed the New York Assembly in its first year, 1992, but has gone nowhere since. Even though this year's bill likely faces the same fate, any discussion of efforts to control rising health care costs should not be dismissed.