New York’s health care sector, including labor unions and industry leaders, is advocating for increased Medicaid spending in the state’s unfinished budget, citing setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, budget watchdogs caution against excessive spending in an already costly program.
State lawmakers are concerned about Medicaid recipients’ future as federal pandemic aid, which allowed more people to join the program for lower-income residents, comes to an end. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plan to raise the reimbursement rate by 5% is considered insufficient by some, such as Ken Raske of the Greater New York Hospital Association, who warns that hospitals may close without additional financial support.
Hospitals in both rural and urban areas have been calling for more state assistance to prevent any deterioration in patient care. Staff shortages and burnout have contributed to this issue, with health care workers struggling to find replacements for those who have left the profession.
New York’s Medicaid program is the second largest in the country, trailing only California. Health care policy expert Bill Hammond has advised lawmakers to be cautious about using Medicaid funds to address workforce shortages, as the situation varies across the state. He argues that while some providers are still recovering from pandemic-related losses, others have fully rebounded.
Lawmakers are also concerned about the potential loss of Medicaid coverage for many recipients as federal support for expansion ends. State Sen. John Mannion recently emphasized the importance of addressing this issue now, as delays could lead to significant impacts.
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