NY Lawmakers Expected to Pass Spending Bill Including $385M in Health Care Cuts

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Lawmakers in New York are expected to vote later tonight on another emergency budget extender from Gov. David Paterson, one that would keep New York's state government operating but also includes $385 million in cuts and hundreds of millions more in savings from health care services.

Health care advocates like Scott Amrhein are alarmed. Amrhein is president of the Continuing Care Leadership Coalition, which includes 100 nursing homes and home health care providers in the metropolitan area.

"When you start doing these kinds of cuts, it really hurts access and quality of care for everyone who needs these services," he says.

But Paterson says the cuts are necessary to help close the state's $9.2 billion budget gap. New York's legislature is likely to approve the emergency budget bill, because if it doesn't, the state's government will shut down.

Bill Van Slyke, a spokesman for the Healthcare Association of New York State, says this could lead to more hospital closures, like St. Vincent's in Manhattan.

"We scratch our heads in horror and wonder when these facilities close and no longer have access to care, yet at the same time we're imposing cut after cut after cut," he says.

Paterson added the cuts to the emergency spending measure out of frustration with the state of budget negotiations.