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Healthcare shortfall fund is prudent planning

If you know hard times are coming, you prepare.

That’s why Governor Cuomo has taken precautionary steps to protect New York’s healthcare system by proposing to establish the Healthcare Shortfall Fund.

What is the Healthcare Shortfall Fund?

New York’s hospitals and health systems continue to be threatened by enormous federal funding cuts that jeopardize their ability to provide care. The Healthcare Shortfall Fund, as proposed in Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget, would allocate $1 billion over the next four years to stabilizing healthcare funding in light of current federal threats.

Why We Need It

Everyone has a stake in this effort, including my family.

Last week, a relative of mine was thrown one of life’s unwelcome curveballs. He was diagnosed with cardiac sarcoidosis, a non-cancerous but very scary, and potentially life-shortening, condition. He and I, along with New York’s four million baby boomers, comprise a graying cohort that will experience costly medical curveballs in the next decade.

Unfortunately, at a time when our collective medical need is rising, federal actions and proposals threaten to erode coverage and financial support for the healthcare system.

This support is critical for millions of individual New Yorkers, and it also keeps the doors open to our hospitals, doctors’ offices, and clinics.

Bea Grause delivers testimony on the 2018-2019 state budget at a joint legislative hearing of the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means committees in Albany on February 12, 2018.

How Healthcare Cuts Affect Care

Maintaining access to care, whether it be a rural clinic or a large academic medical center, requires a measure of predictability and security.

You can’t hire, train, and retain qualified healthcare professionals, secure expensive medical equipment, and contract with others for needed services such as medical supplies and laboratory tests without that predictability and security.

The threat of federal funding cuts——most notably in the areas of Medicaid and Medicare——limits the options and changes the decisions of healthcare leaders in communities across our state.

This disruption comes at a time when New York State has made real progress in improving care while reducing healthcare spending. In fact, New York had the largest five-year improvement of all 50 states in this year’s America’s Health Rankings report. This improvement is no accident! It’s the product of close collaboration between the state and healthcare providers. More funding cuts at this time would slow such progress, and could even cause us to go backwards.

Say YES to the Healthcare Shortfall Fund

With its significant investments in healthcare to date, New York State has a vested interest in protecting access to high-quality medical care.

It only makes sense during these uncertain times that we encourage state lawmakers to support the creation and funding of the Governor’s proposed Healthcare Shortfall Fund——a needed fund that, in the end, serves to keep emergency room and clinic doors open for us all.

I call that prudent planning.