Gov. Andrew Cuomo's task force to cut costs and improve the most expensive Medicaid system in the nation says billions of dollars can be saved while improving service to the 1 in 4 poor New Yorkers it serves.
N.Y. task force votes to cut Medicaid
The goal of the overhaul sent Thursday to the Legislature is to move nearly every one of the state's 4.7 million recipients of the government health care program to managed care such as HMOs within three years, ending the use of hospital emergency rooms, which drive up costs and provide limited service to patients.
The task force of 27 experts in healthcare, hospitals, nursing homes, government and healthcare workers' unions proposes a series of caps that will force facilities to make their own cuts and efficiencies. Under the plan, a state and federal program that costs $53.79 billion would be reduced to $52.8 billion, which is the target.
The task force ended its deliberations a day early after seeing a re-estimation of recipients for the 2011-12 fiscal year. That resulted in a revised target smaller than the task force had sought before Thursday. After discussion during lunch in a break from the public meeting, the group decided to vote and wrap up a day early.
The re-estimation is based on a projected leveling off of the growth of Medicaid recipients after a spike during the recession. The Medicaid Redesign Team's target until Thursday was to cut costs $2.85 billion. After the new estimate was done, that target was reduced to $2.3 billion, said Cuomo Budget Director Robert Megna.
Overall, Medicaid in New York will decrease about 2% next year. It also is projected to rise 4% in the 2012-13 year.
For many hospitals and nursing homes, the changes will mean a cut in Medicaid and an added state surcharge under the state's Health Care Reform Act, which the facilities say will likely trigger layoffs and reduced services after similar aid cuts in recent years.
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