New York’s expensive Medicaid program provides generous long-term care benefits to a large number of recipients. Although Medicaid eligibility is means-tested, with limits on both income and assets, the program nevertheless pays for most professional long-term care services in the state.
Beginning in 2014, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March 2010, is expected to significantly extend health-insurance coverage in New York by increasing Medicaid enrollment and offering federal subsidies for the purchase of private health insurance. However, there is no guarantee that the newly insured will be able to access the health-care system in a timely fashion as new demand for services outstrips physician supply.
New York state and local governments’ liabilities for retiree health coverage run to the hundreds of billions of dollars -- a burden that’s only now coming into full view.
President Obama is expected to unveil his national health-insurance plan in just a couple of months. But when it comes to expanding government-subsidized coverage, broke and recession-battered New York state has already gotten a jump on him.
“Fantasy in, fantasy out” is the way one leading economist has described the budgetary assumptions behind the new federal health care overhaul, which supposedly will reduce the projected federal deficit over the next 10 years even while creating two new federal entitlement programs.
New York’s 80-year-old Executive Budget law, rooted in Article VII of the state Constitution, has stood the test of time in many respects. But some glaring holes in the law have become more and more evident over the past couple of decades. As a result, the severity of New York State’s latest fiscal crisis has been compounded by a lack of budgetary discipline, transparency and accountability.
LAST week, Gov. Paterson activated New York’s “health-emergency preparedness plan,” as a prudent precautionary measure to deal with a potential swine-flu epidemic.