In the coming skirmish over how to close a multi-billion-dollar deficit in the Medicaid program, New Yorkers can expect a lot of misleading claims and half-truths from the health-care industry.
A case in point is a Jan. 6 letter signed by 23 provider groups – representing hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies, physicians and more – which calls for Governor Cuomo to reverse the 1 percent cut to most Medicaid fees that his administration announced on New Year's Eve.
The cash flow of New York’s Medicaid program has become increasingly volatile in recent years, a byproduct of questionable fiscal maneuvers that spawned the current $4 billion deficit.
The ball in Times Square isn't the only thing dropping on New Year's Eve: The state Health Department also announced a 1 percent reduction in most Medicaid payments.
The remarkable thing about state's multi-billion-dollar Medicaid crisis is that it is almost entirely the result of the Cuomo administration's own actions. There is no economic downturn or change in federal policy that explains the program's current $4 billion deficit, or its $3 billion projected gap in the next fiscal year, as confirmed in Friday's mid-year update to the state financial plan.
The 1199 SEIU contract that the Cuomo administration subsidized with Medicaid money last year included a potentially nine-figure payment to the union's lobbying arm, which has spent millions on TV ads praising Governor Cuomo's health policies.
In a sign of a deepening state budget crisis, the Cuomo administration says it is planning to delay another $2 billion in Medicaid payments this coming spring, according to a recent report from the Budget Division.
Governor Cuomo has kept his perfect record of consistently ignoring the statutory deadline for issuing a mid-year financial plan update.
A Cuomo administration analysis of its own Medicaid rate hike last fall appeared to show a disproportionate benefit for hospitals associated with the politically influential labor union 1199SEIU.