May 7, 2024

Broad Support for Primary Care Investment Act (AB8592/SB1197B)

Today, advocates, providers, provider associations, Senate Chair of Health Committee Gustavo Rivera, and Assembly Chair of Health Committee Amy Paulin joined together at the Capitol to urge legislative leaders and Governor Hochul to support and pass the Primary Care Investment Act (A8592/S1197B), which would increase investment in primary care to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to the care they need, when and where they need it.

Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of Health Committee, said: “Primary care is the foundation of our health care system and is key to prevention and early detection of diseases. It saves lives, leads to better individual and community health, and is central to health equity. Despite this, the primary care system in New York State is underfunded, with additional investment in primary care is needed to protect the health of our communities. We urge our Senate and Assembly colleagues, along with Governor Hochul, to support the Primary Care Investment Act (A8592/S1197B), which will increase investment in primary care spending.”

Assemblymember Amy Paulin, Chair of Health Committee, said: “Primary care should be the foundation of the health system – it saves lives, leads to better health for people and their communities, and helps advance health equity. Primary care, however, has been underfunded for years and the State must do more. The Primary Care Investment Act A8592/S1197B, my bill with State Senator Rivera, would increase investment in primary care and help both patients and providers across the State. I’ll continue to fight for its passage and improving New Yorkers’ health outcomes.”

Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas said: “Primary care has the potential to save thousands of lives and improve the health and wellness of all New Yorkers, but it’s been underfunded for years. New York State must invest in primary care to ensure more New Yorkers access high-quality medical support. It would improve the overall quality of life of every resident in our state and reduce medical costs across the board. Primary care not only helps prevent many illnesses and health issues but also reduces the number of emergencies currently overwhelming our hospitals and causing burnout among our healthcare workers. Our health care workforce is struggling, so as we look to save money, we should invest in what works. The Primary Care Investment Act is a smart choice and will significantly improve health outcomes and provide necessary relief for our overburdened health care workforce.”

“Primary care is the foundation upon which the health care system is built,” said Assemblywoman Aileen M. Gunther. “For too long, this crucial aspect of health care has been underfunded and neglected, particularly in the most underserved areas of New York State. This bill is a significant step toward promoting health equity and ensuring that this critical field receives the resources it deserves.”

“The Primary Care Investment Act is critical and urgent,” said Patrick McGovern, CEO, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. “Our health care systems have consistently under-funded primary care with detrimental effects. Study after study demonstrates that primary care is preventive care, cost-saving care, and most important, life-saving care. A statistic from our health center sums it up: 42% of our patients have commercial insurance. Only 7% of our patient revenue (what commercial insurers pay us for primary care) is from those insurers. This bill closes that gap. It is time to support upstream solutions to our health care challenges.”

“The current health care system is not working for community health centers or their patients,” said Marie Mongeon, CHCANYS Vice President of Policy. “The workforce is scarce, the demand for services is high, and health centers’ costs are 40% above their reimbursement rates. Increasing access to primary care helps everyone by reducing hospitalizations and improving population health. New York State must rethink the way it invests in health care and increase investments in primary care by passing the Primary Care Investment Act.”

Vito Grasso, Executive Vice President & CEO, NYS Association of Family Physicians, said: “Our health care system is failing. The Primary Care Investment Act represents a critical step toward restoring balance by improving patient access to the primary and preventive care necessary to preserve health and sustain relationships with clinicians they can rely on.”

“The harms of underinvestment in primary care hit hardest in communities already suffering from other health and social inequities,” said Cynthia Summers, DrPH, Managing Director, Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC). In our state, the preventable hospitalization rate among Black residents is twice the rate of white residents, and the maternal mortality rate among Black mothers is four times higher than among white mothers. We can and must do better. Deliberately investing in primary care is one of the most effective ways to solve these urgent problems, save lives, improve individual and community health, and move toward health equity.” 

Primary care saves lives, improves individual and community health, and is unequivocally central to health equity. Yet New York continues to undervalue and underfund primary care, leaving many New Yorkers without access to high-quality primary care in their own communities. The recent release of Primary Care Development Corporation’s New York State Primary Care Scorecard is a stark reminder of the severe disparities in primary care access and health outcomes among New Yorkers.

Introduced by Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, Chairs of the Health Committees of their respective chambers, the Primary Care Investment Act (A8592/S1197B) was passed by the Senate Health Committee on January 22, 2024.

If enacted, this legislation would put the state on a path towards better, more equitable health outcomes for all New Yorkers by requiring all insurers to:

  • Measure the percentage of their overall health care spending that goes toward primary care and make that information publicly available;
  • Require those insurers who spend less than 12.5% on primary care to increase their primary care spending by 1% each year until they reach 12.5%.

Transform New York communities and achieve health equity by investing in primary care (AB8592/SB1197B)!

CONTACT: Jordan Goldberg, Director of Policy, Primary Care Development Corporation – 917.887.3829 –