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Siena College Hosts Business and Healthcare Seminar

On Tuesday, March 19, Siena hosted the event, “Moving New York State Toward Solutions: Business and Hospital Leaders Speak.” Opening remarks were given by Dr. Leonard Cutler, the director of the pre-law program and a professor of the Political Science Department at Siena College. Rachel Clark ’20, a political science major, was the moderator of the event. The two guest speakers of this event were Heather Briccetti, the president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State and Bea Grause, the president of the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS). Each guest had the opportunity to make some opening remarks, and then the event proceeded with Q&A from the audience.

Grause spoke first at the event. HANYS is an organization that works to ensure that New Yorkers have access to affordable, high-quality care. HANYS also provides leadership, representation and service to not-for-profit and public hospitals, and advocates for these hospitals and organizations at the state and federal levels of government. During the discussion, Grause laid out the differences between the public and private sectors of healthcare; the public sector consists of Medicare and Medicaid and is taxpayer-financed, whereas the private sector is not run by the government, but rather, by organizations, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield or MVP Healthcare. I, myself, never really understood the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. Grause explained the difference between Medicare and Medicaid: Medicare is health insurance provided to people ages 65 years and older while Medicaid is health insurance provided for people with low incomes. Grause also mentioned that the private sector’s growth is increasing more rapidly than the growth of the public sector. Grause explained that because the private sector has more money from this growth, investing in technological advancements will help reach the “triple aim” of better health, better care and lower cost.

After Grause’s opening remarks, Heather Briccetti gave her opening remarks. The Business Council of New York is an organization that represents the interests of large and small businesses in New York State and advocates for these businesses’ interests in state government policy-making and legislation. In her opening statement, Briccetti listed off some of the key issues for businesses in 2019, particularly on budget and legislative matters. Some of these issues included prevailing wage mandates, tax mischief, labor mandates and pro-union anti-corruption. Briccetti also mentioned the overall goals of the Business Council of New York, including employee-driven workforce development, repealing the unique New York barriers that inhibit growth, and a more broad-based modernization of labor laws. 

The Business Council of New York and the Healthcare Association of New York State both focus on the development of better policies and the growth of businesses, with HANYS more on the healthcare aspect, while the Business Council of New York on the labor and economic development of the business. Although both these organizations focus on different issues, there is still an overlap between their interests and even the potential for cooperation between the two.