Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that he may use an executive order to force the implementation of a health care exchange if it’s not included in a final budget agreement.
Speaking to reporters after giving an address at a twice-annual “Somos El Futuro” conference held by the Legislature’s Puerto Rican & Hispanic Task Force, Cuomo said he’s still pushing for an exchange in budget negotiations with the Senate and Assembly, but that he’s considering his options if that doesn’t happen.
“I’m working very hard to make it part of the budget,” Cuomo said. “The Senate is resistant to putting it in the budget. I said there are a number of options to accomplish setting up a health exchange. I’m trying to get it done in the budget. If I can’t get it done in the budget, I have some other options that I’m working on.”
Among those other options, Cuomo said, is the use of an executive order.
“I would prefer to do it by legislation, but if not, one of the options is executive order,” he said.
Senate Republicans have thus far balked at implementing an exchange, which is required under the federal health care reform law. They’ve introduced a bill that would require a study of the costs of implementing an exchange, which they say are uncertain.
Before his Q&A with reporters, Cuomo gave an 11-minute speech to the Somos conference, focusing on unemployment among minority youths and announcing a goal of awarding 20 percent of state contracts to minority and women business enterprises. The previous goal had been 10 percent.
Cuomo also named 10-term Assemblyman Peter Rivera as his pick to head the Department of Labor. Assuming the Senate confirms the nomination, Rivera would step into the commissioner’s office after the legislative session wraps up in June, when he would replace current Labor Commissioner Colleen Gardner.
“He’s been a phenomenal Assemblyman,” Cuomo said. “I’ve watched him work through the years. He knows these issues, he knows the entire state, and I think he’s going to be an extraordinary commissioner for the Department of Labor.”
Here’s the first few minutes of Cuomo’s gaggle with reporters, touching on Rivera’s appointment, health care exchanges, the state of budget negotiations, and the Trayvon Martin situation:
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