When Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for raising the minimum wage in New York to $15 for all public- and private-sector employees during his State of the State address last month, the audience cheered. But healthcare employers are not yet ready to join the celebration. As far as they're concerned, if Cuomo wants to raise the wage, the state should agree to pick up the tab.
Hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare providers have long voiced concerns over a proposed statewide $15 minimum wage. At last week's health and Medicaid budget hearing in Albany, industry representatives appeared to accept that the wage hike is coming.
The salary increase would cost hospitals, nursing homes and home care providers $2.9 billion annually once fully implemented in 2021, the Healthcare Association of New York State estimated. That figure accounts for accompanying benefits and the boost to higher pay grades that would be needed to keep workers' salaries commensurate with their responsibilities, said Dennis Whalen, the trade group's president.
Whalen told legislators he was not opposed to the concept of a wage hike. But he said he wanted to be sure that any funding the state offered providers to cover it would not be counted toward the overall cap on the Medicaid budget.