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.
New York’s hospitals are in the throes of two seemingly contradictory trends. Their collective revenues are showing strong growth, yet more and more of them are chronically operating in the red.
Star ratings for New York hospitals went from bad to worse in a newly updated Hospital Compare report card from the federal government.
Some of the heated attacks on Governor Cuomo's Medicaid cuts, including a claim that tens of thousands of jobs would be lost, should be taken with a grain of salt.
One new aspect of the bill is a dispute resolution process for negotiating fees with providers. The process would involve, if necessary, the appointment of a three-member fact finding panel to advise the health commissioner. Such a process could hinder the state’s ability to control costs, which is critical to making the plan feasible, said Bill Hammond, director of health policy at the Empire Center in Albany.
Just-disclosed campaign spending by the Greater New York Hospital Association sheds additional light on health-related developments in Albany last year.
In a replay of the notorious Pataki-Rivera deal of 2002, the Cuomo administration has quietly ordered a multi-billion-dollar Medicaid rate increase to hospitals and nursing homes, with the money earmarked to boost employee pay and benefits.
In a press conference at Albany Medical Center on Monday, Senator Chuck Schumer deplored what he called a "dramatic cut to upstate New York hospitals," which he claimed would force layoffs and threaten "critical care services such as cancer treatment, addiction treatment and prescription drug access." The senator's depiction of a complex policy change was alarmist and misleading.