Albany, NY – Democratic leaders in Washington may be celebrating the passage of the Senate’s version of health care reform on Thursday, but they aren’t celebrating in Albany. The same day Governor David Paterson issued a statement saying that he is “deeply troubled” by the Senate’s bill, which will cost New York an additional $1 billion that it doesn’t have.
“I am deeply troubled that the Senate version of the bill worsens what was already an inequitable situation for New York,” said Paterson, who is already facing a $6.8 billion budget gap for the next fiscal year.
He said that the bill would mean an additional $1 billion annually in new state Medicaid costs to New York.
The costs could result in a 15 percent reduction in payments to hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies and community clinics because of strained state and city budgets, said the governor.
While he did commend the bill for moving toward insuring the 2.5 million uninsured New Yorkers, he also pleaded for a conference that would allow states to give their input directly.
“The House and Senate must convene a real conference committee to fairly merge these bills and allow our delegation to fight for equitable legislation for New York state,” he said.
Earlier this month Paterson and Mayor Michael Bloomberg penned a joint letter to New York’s two U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, urging them to not allow New York to get the short end of the stick on health care reform.
“New Yorkers will more than pay their share for increasing health coverage around the country,” reads the letter. “All of the major financing options—from Medicare cuts, to Medicare tax increases, to excise taxes on higher cost health plans—can be expected to extract more revenue/savings from New Yorkers than the per capita national average. And, yet New York will receive far less than the national average in federal relief.”