Media Coverage

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

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

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

The economy is not roaring like in many places around the country, and there is an argument to be made that it never fully recovered from the Great Recession in 2008. E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center backs that up with lots of depressing facts in his paper, “One State, Two Stories.” Read More

Many factors are causing Medicaid costs to rise, including a 2017 increase in the minimum wage for health care workers, a cost for which Albany reimburses Medicaid providers. And according to the Empire Center, a fiscally conservative watchdog group, the federal Affordable Care Act pushed Medicaid enrollment up in the state by 31%. Nearly a third of New York residents receive some type of Medicaid benefit. As of 2016, New York’s per-enrollee spending rate on Medicare was just under $10,000, 10th highest among the states, according to the Empire Center. Read More

The Empire Center for New York State Policy noted a 1% reduction in most Medicaid payments was announced on New Year’s Eve via the Dec. 31 edition of the New York State Register. The move will save the state about $52 million from January through April, which is the last quarter of the state fiscal year, and another $248 million in the 2020-21 state fiscal year. Read More

In the late 1990s, Nassau County was roiled by a financial crisis that resulted in the takeover of the county’s finances. By 2015, the county seemed to be out off the hole, but problems remained. Writing in The City Journal, E.J. McMahon claimed that ongoing budget deficits proved that “Long Islanders failed to learn from the mistakes of the big city...Instead, Nassau’s republican machine spent the boom years building a suburban version of the profligate... urban-governance model that almost bankrupted New York in the mid-seventies...The finances of Nassau and Suffolk counties...are likely to experience severe stress in any economic downturn over the next few years. Perhaps then, at last, real reform will happen.” Read More

Ken Girardin, a policy analyst for the fiscally conservative Empire Center, derided the annual event as "Subsidy Day" and said state leaders should instead focus on policy changes to make New York more competitive, including cutting taxes, controlling public employee compensation and streaming government regulations. Read More

E.J. McMahon, the founder of the Empire Center for Public Policy, a fiscally conservative think tank, said Cuomo has the power to almost unilaterally control Medicaid costs without the legislature’s input. Citing recent research from the think tank, McMahon argued the Cuomo administration created the budget gap by postponing certain Medicaid payments, failing to account for the rising minimum wage, and approving rate hikes for hospitals and nursing programs. Read More


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Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100
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The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

Empire Center Logo "Readers will recall that the Empire Center is the think tank that spent months trying to pry Covid data out of Mr. Cuomo’s government, which offered a series of unbelievable excuses for its refusal to disclose...five months after it sued the government, and one week after a state court ruled that the Cuomo administration had violated the law and ordered it to come clean—Team Cuomo finally started coughing up some of the records."   -Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2021