State Panel Approves Medicaid Cuts, Forwards to Cuomo

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A state commission appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to trim Medicaid costs approved a package on Thursday that officials said will save billions of dollars.

Many of the details need to be fleshed out but the panel's overwhelming approval means Cuomo can include them in the state budget. The measure now goes to the Legislature.

Patients with high needs and high costs will be channeled into managed care programs within three years. Doctors, dentists, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other providers will get a two percent, across-the-board rate cut. Medical malpractice claims will be capped. And many home health services for the elderly will be sharply curtailed.

The end-of-the-day vote, at a commission meeting in Albany, came as a surprise. There was to be a second day of deliberation, a few days off for staff members to make changes and panel members to mull over the package, and then another parlay next Tuesday for the vote.

Cuomo initially charged a group with trimming more than $2.8 billion dollars out of the Medicaid budget. But Budget Director Robert Megna, at the beginning of the hearing, said revised estimates of revenues and costs were a half-billion dollars better than expected, meaning the commission’s trims only needed to add up to about $2.3 billion.

Approval was overwhelming – but the two panelists present who are state legislators, Republican Kemp Hannon and Democratic Richard Gottfried, both abstained. They and other legislators can still debate, alter, approve and reject the proposals during the budget process.

Gottfried voiced concerns throughout the day about the effect of the cuts on patients and vulnerable populations, and he was skeptical that many proposals would save money or make the system more efficient. Gottfried was critical of the decision to call a vote, as was Lara Kassel, the coordinator of Medicaid Matters New York and the lone patient representative on the panel.

State Senator Tom Duane, another Manhattan Democrat on the panel, was absent from Albany for the discussion and vote. So were Dennis Rivera, one of the top leaders of the Service Employees International Union, Linda Gibbs, New York City Deputy Mayor, and Jeffrey Sachs, a close ally of Cuomo.


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Comments [8]

rose randall from cortland

We donot need to lose it its not right leave us alone

Mar. 04 2013 08:51 PM
Michael from NY

Medicaid cuts will grossly affect the quality of care. The physician groups and systems that will continue to accept medicaid patients will change the structure in which these patients will be seen. Private physicians that have been struggling to see Medicaid patients previously will simply be unable to continue to do so. Its really simple economics, if a hospital takes in a Medicaid patient they get reimbursed 0.80 cents for every dollar spent or less, in a private setting that spread is higher, if you consider a single physician spending 30 minutes with a patient and getting reimbursed on average 10.00 dollars. Patients that were once used to seeing doctors will now be seeing physician assistants at best, despite what they tell you NP's are just to expensive for outpatient settings.
Further, if we consider the cuts to reimbursable early intervention encounters the picture grows even grimmer. There is currently a record number of denials for the early intervention program, the program provides assistance for children with language and cognitive delays. As a direct result children will be starting school with a much higher rate of delays, which has been factually linked to decreased future academic outcomes and finally decreased chances of achieving above average income. We continue to encourage policies that allow for below average results, slowly killing what this nation once stood for, which is INDEPENDENCE!!!!

Oct. 17 2011 04:12 PM
Michele Cassidy

Cut Medicaid? Ha! My husband is a doctor who does visits in nursing homes and he gets reimbursed $7 per 45 minute visit. Not kidding. That's why he won't see Medicaid patients.

Feb. 28 2011 10:44 AM
T.K. Small from Brooklyn Heights

This whole Medicaid Redesign process has been a sham from the start. It is outrageous that there was not representation of one person who is actually on Medicaid itself, being invited to the table. This weekend in the New York Times the president of 1199 spoke about the importance of being part of the conversation. How many people with disabilities were involved? A big fat zero!

Feb. 28 2011 10:04 AM
Lenny the Educator from NJ

The Republicans & Tea Party members are now going after Medicaid. I am disgusted. Medicaid has been working just fine since 1965; when President Lyndon Johnson and the Democrats implemented it. This program allows everyone eligible to receive nearly unlimited medical care; which is our right as Americans. We need to mend the program; not end the program. Maybe higher taxes on business, income and the like are needed. Maybe a tax on doctor visits to subsidize the program. Whatever it takes, we need to help the Democrats re-take Congress and prevent the Republican assault on the American people.

Feb. 27 2011 06:00 AM
Zoilo Torres from 11215

Does the none-vote of the only union on the commission signal a union endorsement of Cuomo's Medicaid cuts? We should bear in mind that Medicaid enrollees are the poor.

Feb. 25 2011 11:35 AM
John Hancock from New York

Once again we Americans are protesting and raising holy hell after it is just far too late. There is a fundamental flaw in our national character the distortions of which are evidenced through both public and private economic and political and media institutions which will continue to unequally reward and celebrate the super affluent and corporations and punish 'ordinary' people for as long as they allow themselves to be easily influenced and therefore vote against their and their fellow 'ordinary' Americans economic self interest. In essence, due to our apathy, we get what we deserve.

Feb. 25 2011 03:13 AM

hit the poor and vulnerable in the city...many of us live on less than 750.00 a month disability...try doing that in this city!

Feb. 24 2011 08:23 PM

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