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.
“Upstate would need to do a really significant reset of the way government is funded and what it spends, and upstate politicians have not exactly been clamoring for the reforms that it would take to make that happen,” said E.J. McMahon of the Albany-based Empire Center for Public Policy, a conservative think tank.
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.
New York’s new budget — the actual state-government expenditure plan, that is, as opposed to numerous side issues packaged with it — apparently came in close to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bottom line.
Under state law, the impasse means Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli will issue a revenue forecast on or before March 5. Legislators consistently push for higher numbers than the governor, but the current situation represents the first time in Mr. Cuomo’s three-term gubernatorial tenure that he and the Legislature have been unable to reach consensus.
“It means they are getting off to a testy start, but it doesn’t mean they are doomed and they are not going to be able to do a budget,” said E.J. McMahon, research director at the Empire Center for Public Policy, a fiscally conservative think tank.
Even as Governor Cuomo pushes for required insurance coverage of in vitro fertilization, he is withholding a study of how much the coverage would cost for premium payers.
The Comprehensive Contraception Protection Act, which is speeding toward passage in Albany, is typically portrayed as protecting women. As a practical matter, though, some of its prime beneficiaries will be condom buyers who are predominantly male.
A recommended 64 percent pay increase for New York’s state legislators would give lawmakers the highest inflation-adjusted salary in the nation and in state history.