Reflections on Governor Mario Cuomo's Health Leadership

Over the past few days, I have read many stories and remembrances of Governor Mario Cuomo, who passed away on New Year's Day. People are discussing the "poetry" of his campaigns, his "Tale of Two Cities" speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention, his love of basketball.

Those of us who work in health policy and health care are reflecting on Governor Mario Cuomo's innovative leadership and passionate advocacy for the health of residents across New York State. As governor, he introduced important public health measures that became models for the nation. In 1990, he created the Child Health Plus program to provide subsidized health insurance coverage for children; the state's program helped inform the landmark federal Children's Health Insurance Program established in 1997. Governor Cuomo established the State's AIDS Institute during his first year in office and pushed for services, research, education, and funding to combat the AIDS epidemic throughout his career. And under his leadership, New York State was the first in the nation to enact seat belt laws.

I always say with pride that New York is a leading state when it comes to health issues. The late Governor Mario Cuomo deserves credit for establishing or laying the groundwork for many of our successful initiatives to improve health. I join the millions of New Yorkers and others throughout the nation in mourning his loss.

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