Widespread Cuts Threatened in Looming State Budget as COVID-19 Wreaks Financial Havoc

The state budget deadline is just two days away, on April 1. With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking untold havoc on already precarious state finances, the Governor warned over the weekend that drastic cuts are impending.

He specifically noted a hit to education aid. Meanwhile, at least $2.5 billion in reductions are already on the table in the form of Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) recommendations previously summarized for the membership.

The Governor even suggested that he may seek authority to adjust the budget mid-cycle, according to press reports, with forecasts now suggesting that COVID-19 could blow as much as a $15 billion in hole in the state budget.

Also unclear is the fate of $6 billion in federal aid. The Governor insists that these monies remain contingent on New York leaving its Medicaid program untouched, thus preventing the Governor from shifting Medicaid costs onto local governments or, ostensibly, enacting many of the MRT recommendations that are now on track to adoption.

The MRT recommendations have far-reaching consequences for home and community-based programs. They have been speeding through the state budget process with little vetting or transparency at a time when providers are asked to take on overwhelming roles in the crushing global health crisis.

As HCA has argued, many of these proposals would have devastating consequences with dubious cost-savings at a time when HCA has advanced alternative proposals to meet the goals of saving Medicaid dollars and safeguarding the infrastructure necessary to support Medicaid programs and services.

Given the current health crisis, and the alternatives already offered, HCA has repeatedly urged the Legislature to reject MRT proposals which pose long-lasting damage to the home care infrastructure. HCA will continue our appeal for the Legislature to take a stand against these proposals which would set back New York’s system of long term and community-based care at the very time that elder care needs are growing, and as this national emergency is escalating.