Jun 04 2015 NY Times Letter on “To Save New York’s Public Housing”
A Letter to the Editor of the NY Times in May, 2015 offers a solution to the diminishing number of public housing for the disabled and the elderly in Roosevelt Island.
To the Editor:
Re “To Save New York’s Public Housing” (editorial, May 26):
I’ve been watching public housing for the disabled and elderly disappear from Roosevelt Island as my patients move away or pass on. The privatization in the last several years of the island’s apartments developed under the Mitchell-Lama program for middle-class housing is turning the planned diverse community into just another one of Manhattan’s gentrified neighborhoods.
This is an easily remedied public policy error that would cost government nothing to correct. In fact, Albany and Washington would profit financially from the fix.
Keeping the frail elderly and disabled at home and out of hospitals and nursing homes saves money and keeps them healthier. An Obamacare three-year demonstration project — Independence at Home — which is now ending, will show that Medicare saves over $5,000 per beneficiary per year by promoting home-based health care.
Those savings would be enough to produce the housing subsidy that has saved lives and money for decades on Roosevelt Island. That model should be rapidly expanded — not allowed to wither on the vine.
The writer, a doctor, was appointed by Medicare to its Innovation Advisors Program.