April 2005

Health Care

From the NYS Assembly • Sheldon Silver, Speaker
Richard N. Gottfried • Chair, Health Committee
What the experts are saying about the Legislature’s budget...

“Fortunately, our state legislators are refusing to go along with Pataki’s ‘my way or the highway’ approach. They understand reform in Albany doesn’t require destroying our health care.”

– 1199/SEIU-Greater New York Hospital Association

“New Yorkers do not want to see health care cut. They do not want to see their local not-for-profit hospitals and nursing homes hurt even more financially. And most of all, they do not want to pay the governor’s ‘sick tax’ every time they or a loved one receive care.”

– Healthcare Association of New York State President Daniel Sisto

“Access to high quality home care services will continue to be available to New York’s elderly and disabled thanks to the budget passed by the state Legislature today.”

– New York State Association of Health Care Providers

“The state Legislature has agreed to place a cap on the growth of the local share of Medicaid and moved one step closer to ending the devastating impact that escalating Medicaid growth has on local property taxpayers.”

– New York State Association of Counties

Legislature’s bipartisan agreement ensures quality health care, protects taxpayers

The Assembly and Senate passed a bipartisan state budget that will help ensure New Yorkers’ access to quality, affordable health care while easing the burden on local taxpayers.

The governor’s budget plan would have cut a hole in the health care safety net that the Assembly fought to protect. By rejecting the worst of his shortsighted cuts and taxes, this agreement will help ensure that working families don’t lose access to the health care they rely on.

Assembly and Senate cap local Medicaid burden

The Legislature’s budget continues the Assembly’s effort to reduce the Medicaid burden on local taxpayers. Although the Assembly pushed for freezing the local Medicaid cost – a hard cap on Medicaid growth – a bipartisan compromise with the Senate will still result in a savings for counties of more than $803 million next year and more than $3.4 billion a year by 2008.

Improving New York’s health care and protecting taxpayers

The Legislature’s budget will improve New York’s health care system and ease the burden on taxpayers.

The Assembly and Senate:

  • Reject the governor’s sick tax on nursing homes and cuts his tax on hospitals in half;

  • Agree to establish a commission to determine the best way to protect services by eliminating costly excess capacity in the state’s health care facilities;

  • Increase efforts to collect $20 million in rebates owed the state by pharmaceutical companies; and

  • Create a preferred drug list for Medicaid and EPIC with the strongest consumer protections in the nation and ensures that physicians have the final say in prescribing medicine.

The budget also rejects the outrageous out-of-pocket expenses that the governor sought to impose on Family Health Plus enrollees through significantly higher co-pays as well as his attempts to cut basic benefits like vision, dental and hospice care. The governor’s attempt to make it more difficult to enroll in the program was soundly rejected by the Legislature.

Governor Pataki spent tens of millions in taxpayer dollars appearing in glitzy television commercials to promote Family Health Plus, only to turn around and propose cuts and fees in the program that working families simply cannot afford. The Legislature’s budget will allow Family Health Plus to continue providing working families with access to health care.

The budget provides nearly $2 million for programs and services for the elderly through the state Office for the Aging, a 6 percent increase over the previous year. An additional $1 million is in the budget for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and $1.2 million more for the neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC) program.

Fighting for a healthier New York

The Legislature’s budget will help make sure the quality, affordable health care New York families need is available for years to come. The Assembly will continue its fight to protect health care.

To see the savings for specific counties from the Assembly’s proposed hard cap on Medicaid growth, visit http://assembly.state.ny.us/comm/WAM/2005Medicaid/

To see the savings for specific counties from the Legislature’s compromise on reducing the Medicaid burden, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/comm/Health/20050331/

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