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

“This compromise represents a credible outcome for everyone: the Legislature protected the public purse and the health care system, and the governor achieved cost containment.”

– Daniel Sisto, President, Healthcare Association of New York State

“The Legislature found a way to be responsive to the needs of the health care community.”

– Arthur Weintraub, President, Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association.

“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

Final bipartisan budget protects quality health care, protects taxpayers

The Assembly and Senate reached agreement with the governor on the remaining aspects of a bipartisan state budget that will help protect 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 final 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 final budget:

  • Creates a Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century to determine the best way to protect services by eliminating costly excess capacity in the state’s health care facilities

  • Collects $20 million in rebates owed the state by pharmaceutical companies

  • Creates a preferred drug list for Medicaid and EPIC with the strongest consumer protections in the nation. This will save New York hundreds of millions and ensure that physicians have the final say in prescribing medicine

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

The agreement 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. Instead, the Legislature agreed to only modest increases, such as the generic drug co-pay from $1 to $3, when the governor wanted it to be $10.

The governor spends 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 final 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

This year’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/

The Assembly Internet Information Service is available to those interested in receiving timely legislative updates by e-mail.
To subscribe to this service, please drop us a line at signup@assembly.state.ny.us, indicating your area of interest. (The Assembly Internet Information Service will not release, sell or give away a subscriber’s e-mail address, name or any other information provided without express permission from the subscriber. Each e-mail notice or newsletter will contain simple instructions for removing your name from the mailing list if you decide you no longer wish to subscribe.)

New York State Assembly
[ Welcome Page ] [ Committee Updates ]