Bernadette Hogan & Carl Campanile
Gov. Cuomo faces a growing budget mess as officials projected a shocking $6.1 billion hole in the state’s finances next year.
The figure was provided by the state Division of Budget in its mid-year budget report, which was released weeks after its legally mandated due date.
That tallies up to roughly 6 percent of the state’s $102 billion budget for its agencies and operations.
More than half of the gap — $4 billion — is linked to a dramatic rise in the state’s Medicaid costs.
In an effort to patch the hole, Cuomo is considering slashing payments to hospitals and nursing homes in the current budget and perhaps next year.
“Savings may include across the board reductions in rates paid to providers and health plans, reductions in discretionary payments, and other actions that can be executed administratively in the current fiscal year,” the report reads.
It’s Cuomo’s biggest budget shortfall since he came into office in 2011, experts said.
“This is the toughest budget that Cuomo has faced partly because he had bigger gaps when he took office, but he also had more political capital,” said Bill Hammond of the fiscally conservative Empire Center.
“He kind of owns this crisis because it’s not driven by the economy, it’s driven by the shortcomings of his own management of the Medicaid program in particular.”
One health care expert said the growing Medicaid costs are the result of New York’s costly and unwieldy health care system.
“They failed to present a real plan,” criticized Dave Friedfel of the Citizens Budget Commission, a fiscal watchdog group.
“They’ve known about this for a long time, but the plan they did present is really one part gimmick,” he added.
His analysis shows the state was already in trouble after pushing off a $1.7 billion Medicaid bill in March 2019 into 2020, which grew into the $4 billion.
A spokesman for the Division of Budget refused to give details ahead of Gov. Cuomo’s January budget address on how the state plans to cut Medicaid expenditures incurred and rolled over from last year.
© 2019 New York Post
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