NY’s uninsured rate hits new low by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

Bucking the national trend, New York's uninsured rate dropped for the eighth consecutive year, new data from the Census Bureau show. The share of New Yorkers lacking health coverage in 2018 was 5.4 percent in 2018, down from 5.7 percent the year before. The number of people lacking health coverage dropped by about 72,000, to just over 1 million. Both the rate and the number are roughly half what they were in 2013, the year before the Affordable Care Act went into effect. [Read_more]

Losing by winning by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York State's tax collectors prevailed in a key administrative ruling last month—but in the long run, the state's taxpayers will probably be net losers as a result.

At issue here is the Empire State's effort to tax the investment income, dividends and capital gains earned in 2012 and 2013 by Nelson Obus, a hedge fund manager who during those years commuted regularly from his residence in New Jersey to his office in midtown Manhattan. [Read_more]

Schumer’s double-talk on DSH by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

Sen. Chuck Schumer raised the alarm Tuesday about a pending reduction in Medicaid funding for safety-net hospitals, which he said would have "devastating" effect in New York. His warning was misleading in several ways, not least because it left out an important bit of context: Schumer himself voted for the cuts he was deploring. In effect, he was taking credit for trying to clean up a mess he had helped to create. [Read_more]

Failing district, dubious “progress” by Peter Murphy |  | NY Torch

The state overseer of Long Island’s troubled Hempstead school district says the district is making “solid progress in every area.” At the same time, he’s warning of a “very serious” financial outlook due to a projected increase in the number of Hempstead school children attending charter schools—which would indicate parents don’t actually think progress is occurring. [Read_more]

DiNapoli’s positive pension nudge by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

For the third time in nine years, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is reducing his assumed rate of returns on state pension fund investments.

DiNapoli today announced he will drop—to 6.8 percent from 7 percent— the rate of return for the fund that feeds the New York State Employee Retirement System (ERS) and the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS), which cover roughly 1 million active and retired non-teachers outside New York City. [Read_more]

DMV’s license to shakedown by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

What's the legal and historical background of Governor Cuomo's plan to issue a new generation of New York license plates carrying a mandatory fee of $25 per set? [Read_more]

Wind bids rigged for unions by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

The Cuomo administration appears to have violated state law by forcing offshore wind developers to cut deals with the building trade unions that supported his 2018 re-election bid, needlessly inflating costs and boxing out subcontractors on multi-billion dollar construction jobs. [Read_more]

Union ditches members—and rules by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

One of New York’s largest public-sector unions is deliberately trying to shed some dues-paying members. The union in question wants to avoid transparency and accountability for how it spends dues money. And unless state lawmakers or federal regulators act, they’ll succeed. [Read_more]

Medicaid overage: $665M and rising by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

The newly posted July cash report from the comptroller's office shows that state-funded Medicaid expenditures ran over budget projections by $665 million, or almost 8 percent, through the first four months of the fiscal year. If that pattern continues, the full-year overage would approach $2 billion. [Read_more]

Health price controls are failing by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

State-regulated health premiums for 2020 are rising faster than the medical inflation rate for the sixth year in a row, yet the officials who signed off on the hikes insist they have saved consumers money – because average premiums are lower than what insurers originally requested. Positive spin notwithstanding, it's increasingly evident that the state's nine-year-old price-control regime, known as "prior approval," is failing as a strategy to keep health costs in check. [Read_more]

Cuomo signals a Medicaid crunch by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

The Cuomo administration's quarterly budget update includes a warning for the state's health-care industry: Medicaid cuts could be coming. The report, released Tuesday, says officials are developing a plan to reduce Medicaid spending that could include "across-the-board rate reductions to health care providers and plans." [Read_more]
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