Media Coverage

Health Insurance Premiums Surge In New York | Spectrum

Groups like the Empire Center for Public Policy, a right-leaning fiscal watchdog, say that rising premium costs are linked to multiple issues, including the high cost of living, the number of unionized healthcare workers, and "heavy state taxes levied directly on health insurance." [Read_more]

Cuomo aims to close $6.1 billion deficit; $178.6B budget plan seeks to overhaul Medicaid, rejects tax hike on wealthy | The Buffalo News

But fiscal watchdogs didn't see it that way. E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center for Public Policy, one of the fiscal monitoring groups at the Capitol Tuesday, said the Cuomo administration's leisurely way of releasing budget documents - including key pieces of legislation needed to pass to make up the fiscal plan's specifics - was a show of "contempt for the public, the taxpayers and the Legislature. Every year this process gets murkier and less transparent." [Read_more]

How to Fix a $6.1 Billion Budget Hole? Attack Health Care Spending | The New York Times

“The Assembly’s whole theory on this is it’s not a spending problem, it’s a revenue problem,” said Bill Hammond, the director of health policy at the Empire Center, a conservative think tank. “The whole idea that you would use a carrot and stick to control Medicaid costs, I think it’s a nonstarter.” [Read_more]

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 10th state budget to detail how to fill $6.1 billion deficit | Newsday

E.J. McMahon of the fiscally conservative Empire Center said the budget must reflect that the state has a spending problem, not a shortage of revenue.

He said Cuomo can’t just “paper over” this year’s deficit by tapping reserves and employing gimmicks such as one-shot, nonrecurring revenues, but must institute long-term spending cuts and efficiencies in the budget so deficits don’t deepen in bad economic times. [Read_more]

Massive overtime leads to big bucks for Schenectady cops | Times Union

A report last year by the Albany-based Empire Center indicates that for fiscal year 2017-18, the Schenectady police force had the highest average pay at $94,817 for cities in the Capital Region and upstate New York, slightly above the statewide average. [Read_more]

Budget wars, drugs; Money’s at the root of NY’s major medical issues | The Journal News

Albany-based think tank Empire Center attributed it in part to rising Medicaid enrollment, the minimum wage increase and a budget gimmick used earlier this year by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to delay paying Medicaid costs. Closing the gap in 2020 will likely require major cuts to medical services, or a plan to find enough savings elsewhere in the budget. [Read_more]

New York’s Medicaid Budget Is Bleeding; Some Want Cash Infusion | Bloomberg Law

Cuomo’s first MRT made “real progress” and could do so again, said Bill Hammond, director of health policy for the Empire Center, a fiscally conservative think tank.

But much depends on the team, Hammond said.

“If it’s structured that same way, where the biggest recipients of Medicaid money are running the show, and the global cap has been weakened, and the governor’s political capital on this issue is diminished, the question is how effective will that be,” he said. [Read_more]

Cuomo threatens to make NY counties pay more for Medicaid if they don’t cut costs | Syracuse.com

Cuomo quietly increased Medicaid payments by 2 percent to hospitals and 1.5 percent to nursing homes just before Election Day in 2018 at a time when Medicaid spending was running hundreds of millions of dollars higher than expected, according to a report by the Empire Center, an Albany think tank. Cuomo than reversed course and cut most Medicaid payments by 1 percent early this year. [Read_more]

Cuomo’s 2020 Budget: Legalizing Marijuana, Revising Bail Reform, A Panel To Solve Medicaid Shortfall | The Gothamist

Budget watchdogs criticized the state’s practice of pushing overruns into future years, and said the commission's revival felt too little too late.

"The need to reconvene this was clear a year ago," said E.J. McMahon, from the conservative Manhattan Institute. "Delaying until now is just tactics, not a solution."

McMahon said the earlier Medicaid overhaul managed to curb spending, starting around 2011, but the lid -- a 3-percent growth cap -- started to come off in recent years. [Read_more]

MTA exceeded its budget on overtime by 26%, despite vowing controls | Newsday

Tim Hoefer, executive director of the Empire Center, said that by continuing to bust its overtime budget, MTA officials “are not showing us that they can manage it in a way that is fiscally prudent." He noted that controlling overtime is especially important, given that it is factored into employees’ pension earnings. [Read_more]
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