Beginning in 2014, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March 2010, is expected to significantly extend health-insurance coverage in New York by increasing Medicaid enrollment and offering federal subsidies for the purchase of private health insurance. However, there is no guarantee that the newly insured will be able to access the health-care system in a timely fashion as new demand for services outstrips physician supply.
What's the best way to ensure that all New York State residents-adults and children alike-have access to affordable health-insurance coverage?
Governor Spitzer’s 2007-08 Executive Budget calls for a series of Medicaid cost-containment measures, including a freeze on hospital and nursing-home reimbursement rates. These steps are appropriate and justifiable-but they only scratch at the surface of the problem.
When premium increases are capped, insurance companies tend to seek rate increases closer to the limit. Tighter regulation of premiums could undermine the profitability of a company whose financial health the state is banking on to finance health care programs. The focus should be on health insurance regulations that drive up rates.
New York State has long stood alone in forcing local taxpayers to pay up to half of all Medicaid costs not reimbursed by the federal government. This divided financial responsibility is a key reason why New York easily leads the nation in Medicaid spending.
The state-funded share of Medicaid costs will escalate rapidly over the next few years as Albany assumes responsibility for a greater share of county and New York Medicaid costs, according to projections explained in a new report from the Empire Center for New York State.