How Team Handles Medicaid Review Will Be Test For Dems

Staring at a $2.4 billion shortfall in state revenues, it is little surprise Gov. Andrew Cuomo is casting an eye toward Medicaid in his search for savings.

The governor wants the state Department of Health to reconvene the Medicaid Redesign Team to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the Medicaid program and offer recommendations to further improve access to high quality and cost-effective medical services and stabilize the long-term fiscal condition of the Medicaid Global Cap. The Medicaid Redesign Team will be comprised of health care industry leaders and stakeholders from across the state and will convene during the year to conduct its evaluation and report recommendations to the governor. Topics for review will include, but are not be limited to, addressing the needs of vulnerable populations; responding to the current federal landscape; evaluating options to enhance affordable health insurance coverage and access; sustaining the future of the state’s long-term care system; and stabilizing fiscally distressed health care providers.

The governor is already proposing reprogramming health care transformation funding to pay for housing services projects, reducing indigent care payments to hospital systems and an across-the-board cut to Medicaid provider reimbursements. The last two of those cuts will hurt hospitals that already struggle under the weight of reimbursements that don’t come close to paying for the care hospitals provide. Further savings will similarly not come easily.

New York has the most expensive Medicaid program in the country in part because all of those things that sound great trumpeted in a news release come with a real cost attached to them. How the newly recreated Medicaid Redesign Team navigates the state’s progressive ideals at a time when dollars are scarce will be an interesting test for Cuomo and Democratic majorities in the state Senate and Assembly.