Work from Bill Hammond

NY’s uninsured rate hits new low by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

Bucking the national trend, New York's uninsured rate dropped for the eighth consecutive year, new data from the Census Bureau show. The share of New Yorkers lacking health coverage in 2018 was 5.4 percent in 2018, down from 5.7 percent the year before. The number of people lacking health coverage dropped by about 72,000, to just over 1 million. Both the rate and the number are roughly half what they were in 2013, the year before the Affordable Care Act went into effect. [Read_more]

Schumer’s double-talk on DSH by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

Sen. Chuck Schumer raised the alarm Tuesday about a pending reduction in Medicaid funding for safety-net hospitals, which he said would have "devastating" effect in New York. His warning was misleading in several ways, not least because it left out an important bit of context: Schumer himself voted for the cuts he was deploring. In effect, he was taking credit for trying to clean up a mess he had helped to create. [Read_more]

Medicaid overage: $665M and rising by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

The newly posted July cash report from the comptroller's office shows that state-funded Medicaid expenditures ran over budget projections by $665 million, or almost 8 percent, through the first four months of the fiscal year. If that pattern continues, the full-year overage would approach $2 billion. [Read_more]

Health price controls are failing by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

State-regulated health premiums for 2020 are rising faster than the medical inflation rate for the sixth year in a row, yet the officials who signed off on the hikes insist they have saved consumers money – because average premiums are lower than what insurers originally requested. Positive spin notwithstanding, it's increasingly evident that the state's nine-year-old price-control regime, known as "prior approval," is failing as a strategy to keep health costs in check. [Read_more]

Cuomo signals a Medicaid crunch by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

The Cuomo administration's quarterly budget update includes a warning for the state's health-care industry: Medicaid cuts could be coming. The report, released Tuesday, says officials are developing a plan to reduce Medicaid spending that could include "across-the-board rate reductions to health care providers and plans." [Read_more]

Health costs spiral in NY by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

New York's employer-sponsored health insurance premiums – which were already among the steepest in the mainland United States – rose faster than the national average in 2018, pushing the state's affordability gap to new heights. [Read_more]

Cuomo’s $1.7B Medicaid mulligan by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

This year's state budget came with a hidden asterisk: In the final throes of his negotiations with legislative leaders, Governor Cuomo quietly postponed a month's worth of Medicaid payments from the last week of March to the first week of April – shifting $1.7 billion in spending from one fiscal year to the next. [Read_more]

Gillibrand’s Medicare muddle by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

At Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand gave a misleading description of the "Medicare for All" proposal that she says she helped to write – implying that it calls for a voluntary buy-in rather than mandatory government coverage. [Read_more]

A dilemma for doulas by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

Governor Cuomo's efforts to reduce maternal mortality have put New York's doulas on the path to state regulation – and some of them want to get off. [Read_more]

A rush to regulate PBMs by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

In the name of lowering drug costs, state lawmakers are on the brink of passing hastily drafted and ill-considered legislation that would risk driving those costs even higher. [Read_more]

Albany’s Rx for higher premiums by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

Dozens of the health-care bills percolating through the Legislature in the closing days of session have one thing in common: They would add to the already high price of health insurance in New York State. [Read_more]

Pension woes for 1199 by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

Two pension funds affiliated with 1199 SEIU, the state's largest and most influential union for  health-care workers, recently disclosed that they are in critical status due to funding or liquidity problems for an 11th straight year. [Read_more]

Testimony: New York Health Act Public Hearing by Bill Hammond |  | Testimony

If ever a piece of legislation warranted thorough vetting, in full public view, it’s a bill that would compel 20 million people to switch health plans, abolish tens of thousands of jobs, upend a sixth of the economy and levy the largest tax increase in the history of this or any other state. [Read_more]

Essential Plan surplus hits $1.2B by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

The balance of unspent money in the Essential Plan Trust Fund ballooned to a new high of $1.2 billion as of March 31, records from the comptroller's office show. The surplus more than tripled since the same time last year – even as the Trump administration disrupted federal aid for the program, which provides health coverage to low-income New Yorkers, and the Cuomo administration diverted $635 million in Essential Plan funds to subsidize struggling hospitals. [Read_more]

Nursing home grades decline by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

The scores of New York's nursing homes dipped to an average of 3.19 out of 5 stars in the federal government's latest Nursing Home Compare report card, down from 3.33 in January. However, the national average dropped even further, from 3.35 stars to 3.06. New York's standing improved from 31st to 27th among the 50 states. [Read_more]

Budget pushes health costs higher by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

The new state budget features a larger-than-usual increase in Medicaid spending and two new coverage mandates for private insurers – adding to the already steep costs of health care for New York's taxpayers and policyholders. [Read_more]

Where NY’s school money goes by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

It’s commonly perceived that New York’s education funding system directs more money to wealthier, whiter schools than to poorer, less white schools – and that the distribution of state aid reinforces those inequities. Looking at the totality of school spending across the state, however, different patterns emerge. [Read_more]

Medicaid déjà vu by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

In a "Groundhog Day"-like replay of tactics from last year, health-care interests are again using an unlikely threat of spending cuts in Washington to demand special treatment in the upcoming state budget.

The question now is whether the governor and the Legislature will play along with the movie for a second time in a row – and whether it will have the same ugly ending.

[Read_more]

Banishing Profit Is Bad for Your Health by Bill Hammond |  | Wall Street Journal

Eliminating profit from an entire sector of the national economy would be unprecedented. But the example of New York, on a smaller scale, shows why it is a recipe for dysfunction. [Read_more]

Cuomo’s Medicaid merry-go-round by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

Governor Cuomo is now backing away from Medicaid spending cuts he pushed less than four weeks ago, his second about-face on health-care funding so far this year. Even more head-spinning is his stated rationale: the supposed threat to federal aid outlined in President Trump's budget proposal this week. [Read_more]

Pricing an IVF mandate by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

Requiring New York health plans to cover in vitro fertilization would add up to 1.1 percent to premiums, according to a state study belatedly released today. [Read_more]

Gillibrand’s 4 percent fantasy by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is setting herself apart from many "Medicare for All" supporters by offering what sounds like a plan to pay for it. Unfortunately, the revenue source she keeps citing – a 4 percent tax on income – would fall short of what's needed by at least $1 trillion, and more likely $2 trillion, per year. [Read_more]

Single-payer, version 2.0 by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

New revisions to a proposed single-payer health plan for New York State would add tens of billions dollars to the already enormous price tag – and further hinder the state's ability to control costs going forward. [Read_more]
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