Medicaid Cuts Eyed in Fiscal Crisis

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Gov. David Paterson says the state needs to reduce spending by a billion dollars this year. Despite tense budget negotiations in April, the governor says the fiscal crisis leaves the state with a broad deficit. More than half of his cuts would come from Medicaid payments to hospitals and nursing homes. Dan Sisto, head of the state hospital association, says that's too much of a sacrifice for health care.

SISTO: We can't continue going back to hospitals and nursing homes for more and more cuts and say it's a shared sacrifice. We have to have adequate revenue to fund the promises we keep making.

REPORTER: A consumer advocate for nursing home patients says the governor's budget cuts should target administrative costs, not direct services.

But Cynthia Rudder of the Long-term Care Community Coalition praised Paterson for NOT restricting access to Medicaid support by making it more difficult for people to qualify — a frequent way of cutting spending in other states.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said the state needs to work harder to prevent Medicaid fraud, which is believed to cost New York hundreds of millions of dollars a year in false claims.