Dinowitz Blasts Governor for Vetoing His Legislation

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz blasted Governor Pataki for vetoing legislation authored by Dinowitz that would require insurance companies to cover health care costs of drivers injured as a result of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Existing law permits insurers to exclude drunk drivers from No-Fault coverage.

This bill would require insurers to reimburse health care providers that provide any necessary professional health services, without limitation as to time, rendered to persons arriving at a general hospital in need of emergency medical treatment. The bill would also require insurers to reimburse health care providers that provide medical screening and necessary stabilizing treatment for emergency medical conditions, regardless of the fact that the patient was injured as a result of drunk driving.

Dinowitz stated, “The governor’s action of vetoing this legislation is irresponsible. It penalizes doctors who provide the care regardless of payment and maintains the disincentive for doctors not to diagnose for alcohol abuse, thereby removing any possibility of referring such individuals to treatment.”

Dinowitz further stated, “I believe it is grossly unfair to permit health care providers and professionals to provide lifesaving care, and then provide no compensation. This bill would have changed that by allowing doctors to get paid for services they provide. Furthermore, doctors would readily test accident victims’ blood alcohol levels, creating the opportunity to refer individuals with substance abuse problems for treatment. As a result, this bill would have reduced the number of individuals bouncing in and out of the emergency room, saving the state a lot of money. The governor did New York a disservice by vetoing this bill.”