Senator Parker Applauds Patients-first Approach In Restructuring New York’s Medicaid Program

 

Brooklyn lawmaker said. “Despite Legislative additions made to the Governor’s proposal, Senate Democrats reduced the Medicaid annual growth rate from an unsustainable 8 percent to 1.7 percent. That’s all the more remarkable when you consider the rate has been at 8 percent since 2001.”

Senator Parker noted that Medicaid spending in New York next year would have reached $48.7 billion, or nearly 35 percent of the state budget, had strong steps not been initiated. While Medicaid spending far exceeds that of any other state, an estimated 2.6 million New Yorkers still are without health insurance coverage.

“One of the most exciting aspects of the healthcare reform package is the passage of a False Claims Act, ” Senator Parker added. “This initiative lets citizens with evidence of Medicaid fraud go after perpetrators, suing to recover stolen funds. Citizens would then be rewarded a portion of the claims recovered. This legislation, which has been adopted in 17 other states as well as New York City and Chicago, has proved to be hugely effective in fighting Medicaid fraud.”      

Part of the savings achieved through Medicaid fraud-fighting and greater efficiency will be used to provide health coverage for the State’s uninsured. The budget proposes to expand access for 900,000 uninsured adults and children; streamline the application and recertification process, thus reducing gaps in coverage; and enroll 400,000 children under the state-subsidized Child Health Plus program by making more children eligible for coverage. 

Another key Medicaid reform measure is the addition of $200 million in new funding for critical public health, preventative and primary care initiatives. 

“Our landscape of medical care has changed substantially in recent decades, with more and more patient care now taking place in an outpatient setting,” Senator Parker said. “By shifting money to these areas, we can dramatically expand access and improve patient care in a cost effective way.”          

Senator Parker added: “Moreover, by enacting initiatives that reduce fraud and inefficiencies in our Medicaid system, we will reduce the state’s punishing tax burden. These reform measures will have a positive long-term impact on patient care as well as local property taxes.”         

Senator Parker explained that while the state and Federal government splits the cost of New York’s Medicaid program, the state passes along half of its share of most Medicaid costs to counties that must make up the difference through local taxes. 

“This is just the beginning of a long process to fix an ineffective health care system, out of touch with today’s needs,” Senator Parker concluded. “Reforming Medicaid to meet the 21st century needs of New Yorkers will take considerable time and effort. Still, New York’s Medicaid program has done wonders in connecting needy families with essential medical services. Be assured, I believe we can eliminate the fraud and waste while ensuring that the program operates in a way that truly puts patients first.”


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