LICH provides vital healthcare services for Brooklyn residents, as well as nearly 2,500 jobs. Closing it would have been disastrous for Brooklyn's health and economy.
The fact that the governor's team reversed a proposal to review $62 million in grants intended to save LICH from closure after listening to an outcry from elected officials was an encouraging sign that even-tempered decision-making might return to Albany after all.
After years of nonsense, that would be nice.
The grants were approved by former Governor David Paterson last year to pay for the merger of LICH and SUNY Downstate Medical Center. The deal was a life-saver for the struggling Cobble Hill hospital, which is sinking under a pile of debt.
But it was suddenly challenged last week, when the state announced it was reconsidering the promised grants while investigating ways to scale back healthcare spending.
In response, the hospital's owner, Continuum Health Partners, said it would file for bankruptcy and layoff LICH's workers if the state grants fell through. Elected officials did a good job of rallying for the hospital as well. After a brief standoff, the state backed down.
Dropping the grant would have caused serious political backlash, and resulted in thousands of layoffs when the borough can least afford them. Agreeing to pay for the merger seems like a no-brainer.
But the previous two administrations in Albany - plagued by scandal, disorganization and ego-driven politics - made plenty of bone-headed decisions; allowing Long Island College Hospital to close would have been par for the course.
Cuomo showed an admirable willingness to listen and reverse course, when that was clearly the right thing to do.