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HANYS on Governor’s Cuts: Expect Loss of Needed Health Care Services and Jobs

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Governor Paterson called for deep health care cuts yesterday as part of an effort to reduce a projected $3 billion state budget deficit. HANYS quickly responded by explaining why health care should be spared from the budget ax: health care has been disproportionately targeted in multiple rounds of cuts over the past two years, and any additional cuts will cause a commensurate loss of needed health care services and jobs.

“We are extremely alarmed and disappointed by the Administration’s proposal to again cut health care, and to continue a pattern of weakening providers’ ability to serve their communities. This is not reform: this is placing our health care in jeopardy,” HANYS’ President Daniel Sisto stated. “New York State’s health care system has reached a tipping point of fragility. We can no longer base our policy and funding decisions upon the myth that hospitals, nursing homes, and home care providers can simply ‘absorb’ funding cuts without real-world implications for everyday New Yorkers. In this fragile environment, each budget action taken to reduce health care funding will yield a commensurate loss of jobs and health care services.”

“Combined with multiple reductions over the past two years, these proposed cuts will extract a total of $2 billion per year from New York’s hospitals, health systems, and continuing care providers,” said Mr. Sisto. “This ongoing pattern of health care cuts is unsustainable and threatens providers’ ability to provide 19 million New Yorkers with needed care.”

Mr. Sisto also provided the media with examples of how previous health care cuts have already forced hospitals to curtail needed services and cut jobs. HANYS’ complete press statement is available online.

The Governor proposed reducing Medicaid funding to hospitals, nursing homes, home health care providers, and others by $287 million (state savings) for the current state fiscal year (SFY); these cuts would recur in the next SFY. If the entire $287 million has a federal match (on which we are seeking more detailed information), then the actual impact could be $747 million with the enhanced federal match.

“It is a public health imperative to address current and future state budget shortfalls without making further cuts to health care funding,” Mr. Sisto emphasized. “The Governor has indicated his budget proposal will cause pain. If the Legislature passes his health care cuts, that prediction will be literally true for many New Yorkers. And for some, the implications will be far worse.”

HANYS provided members additional details, and is seeking clarification on the Governor’s proposals. Contact: Robin Frank

Published October 16, 2009