CUOMO BUDGET PROPOSES MAJOR CUTS IN MEDICAID ELIGIBILITY AND SERVICES

CUOMO BUDGET PROPOSES MAJOR CUTS IN MEDICAID ELIGIBILITY AND SERVICES

New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo presented the state Legislature in Albany with a $30.2 billion budget proposal featuring cuts in Medicaid eligibility and services and higher state assessments on hospitals and nursing homes.

Gov. Cuomo has urged lawmakers to pass the budget by April 1, the statutory deadline.Senate Minority Leader Ralph Marino, R-Muttontown, accused the governor of relying "too heavily on new taxes and assessments on hospitals, nursing homes and other providers. Gov. Cuomo's proposed budget increases spending on Medicaid and welfare by $2.6 billion over last year. The governor proposes spending 81 cents of every new dollar on these programs.

"The governor continues to shift money from other programs to pay for the explosive growth in Medicaid and welfare," he said. "Even if all of the governor's changes were to be made, Medicaid alone would still grow by almost 20 percent."

The governor's budget proposal would reduce Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals, nursing homes, home care providers and pharmacies and lag Medicaid payments to hospitals and nursing homes by another day in fiscal 1992-93.

In addition, the proposal would impose co-payments on Medicaid recipients and raise the rate on hospital income from an average 0.06 percent to 1 percent and on nursing home income from 0.06 percent to 1 percent.

The governor also expects to raise $146 million for the state's general fund by increasing the differential between the reimbursement rates paid to hospitals by Blue Cross and by commercial insurance companies.

The Hospital Association of New York State, which represents more than 300 voluntary and not-for-profit hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities, immediately accused the governor of trying to close the state's $1.6 billion budget gap on the backs of its members.

The governor "claims to oppose any new taxes, yet he proposes increasing the tax on non-profit hospital and nursing home revenue," said Daniel Sisto, president of the Albany-based association.