Albany, NY — New York’s Medicaid program is currently on a crash course for fiscal disaster in the near future, warns Bill Hammond, Empire Center senior fellow for health policy, in testimony delivered today before the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committees.
“Around this time three years ago, state lawmakers found themselves making painful choices about Medicaid – on the brink of a pandemic – because they had allowed spending to spin out of control when times were flush,” wrote Hammond in his submitted testimony. “They are at risk of repeating that destructive cycle now. … Now is the time to restore fiscal discipline to Medicaid, or this critically important but hard-to-steer program will hit an iceberg in the foreseeable future.”
New York’s state-share Medicaid spending has surged by $8 billion or 20 percent in just three years, and remains the highest in the nation on a per-capita basis. Governor Hochul’s fiscal 2024 budget calls for a further increase of $3 billion.
In his written testimony, Hammond identifies the governor’s proposals that deserve support in addition to those that should be revised or rejected for the fiscal health of New York’s Medicaid program.
“To head off a predictable fiscal crisis, lawmakers should be looking to tamp down Medicaid spending in this year’s budget, not pump it higher. While some strategic investments might be warranted, they should be accompanied by cost-cutting efforts in other parts of program – and a long-term strategy to shrink enrollment by making commercial coverage more affordable and accessible.”
The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and raise a family.