New York’s per-capita Medicaid spending soared to more than double the nationwide rate in 2018, widening its gap with the other 49 states.

New York’s version of Medicaid, a health plan for the low-income and disabled, cost $3,869 per resident during the federal fiscal year ending in September 2018. That was 107 percent higher than the nationwide cost of $1,866 per resident.

New York’s rate was also 29 percent higher than the second-highest state, which was Alaska.

New York was topped only by the District of Columbia, a city with a large low-income population, which spent more at $4,218 per person.

Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

This analysis is based on the most recently available Medicaid Financial Management Report from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The disparities between New York and the rest of the country had widened significantly in just two years. In 2016, New York’s per-capita spending of $3,236 was 79 percent higher than the national rate and 14 percent higher than the No. 2 state, which at the time was Vermont.

Albany’s spending surge came at a time of flat or declining overall enrollment, both in New York and nationwide.

During that period, however, New York was experiencing a sharp increase in demand for home-based care, especially the non-medical services known as “personal assistance.” 

As of 2016 – the last year for which nationwide data is readily available – New York accounted for 40 percent of nationwide Medicaid spending on personal assistance, up from 23 percent when Governor Cuomo took office in 2011. The program has continued to grow rapidly in the years since – and became a central target for the cost cutting changes recommended by the governor’s Medicaid Redesign Team earlier this year.

The coronavirus pandemic is likely to increase pressure on Medicaid’s finances. Between February and May, enrollment in the program jumped 4.3 percent to an all-time high of more than 6.3 million.

About the Author

Bill Hammond

As the Empire Center’s senior fellow for health policy, Bill Hammond tracks fast-moving developments in New York’s massive health care industry, with a focus on how decisions made in Albany and Washington affect the well-being of patients, providers, taxpayers and the state’s economy.

Read more by Bill Hammond

You may also like

New York’s Jobs Recovery Chugged to a Near-Halt in October

After rising sharply once the economy began to reopen, private payroll growth in New York ominously ran out of steam in October, according to the state's monthly jobs report. Read More

New York’s Rising COVID Curve Casts Doubt on Cuomo’s ‘Micro-Cluster’ Strategy

The ongoing surge in New York's coronavirus pandemic raises doubts about the effectiveness of Governor Cuomo's "micro-cluster" strategy. Read More

The Autumn Coronavirus Wave Is Hitting New York’s Nursing Homes, Too

Coronavirus infections are again rising in New York's nursing homes, a sign that blanket testing, tight limits on visitors and other precautions have not fully isolated their acutely vulnerable residents from conditions in Read More

DiNapoli Predicts $3.8B More in State Tax Receipts

New York State's tax receipts in the current fiscal year will exceed Governor Cuomo's latest projections by $3.8 billion—still down from last year, but a big improvement over the governor's worst-case scenario—according to updated estimates from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office. Read More

With Hopes Dashed for “Blue Wave” Bailout, Cuomo Needs to Deal With Budget Shortfall

With the national election results still unclear, Governor Cuomo can no longer put off tough decisions on how to balance New York's pandemic-ravaged state budget. Read More

A Fight Over COVID’s Toll in Nursing Homes Highlights FOIL Weaknesses

The legal fight over coronavirus data from New York nursing homes is putting a spotlight on weaknesses in the state's Freedom of Information Law. Read More

Here’s Why Coronavirus Infection Rates Are Rising as ‘Positivity’ Stays Stable

A growing disconnect between two coronavirus benchmarks – the positivity rate and the infection rate – is stirring confusion about New York's pandemic outlook. Read More

‘Clusters’ Drive a Widespread Surge in New York’s Coronavirus Infection Rates

New York's coronavirus infection rates have surged to their highest levels since May, pushing 10 counties – including Brooklyn, Rockland and Orange – above a threshold that the Cuomo administration uses to justify travel restrictions on other states. Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

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

Phone: 518-434-3100
Fax: 518-434-3130
E-Mail: info@empirecenter.org

About

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.