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Press release: Assembly Manhattan Delegation Releases Report Urging NYCHA Funding in State Budget

Today, the Manhattan Assembly delegation issued a report, NYCHA Crisis: Finding Tenant Solutions, that details the living conditions of several NYCHA developments across Manhattan, and urges New York State to commit substantial and consistent funding for NYCHA’s most urgent capital needs.

“Written prior to the COVID-19 State of Emergency, the pandemic further highlights that, for over 400,000 NYCHA tenants in substandard housing, the public housing crisis is a public health crisis,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, the dean and Chair of the Manhattan Assembly Delegation.  “New York State can act now with serious funding commitments and lead the way towards the restoration of NYCHA.”

NY Post: Cuomo panel recommends $400M in hospital cuts as coronavirus pandemic rages

It’s unclear whether the Legislature or even the governor, who must approve the changes as part of the state budget, have the stomach to cut spending to medical facilities grappling with an expected wave of COVID-19 patients and a potential health catastrophe, as well as rolling back Medicaid services to patients.

“It’s never a good time to cut health care, especially when the only rationale is to fit into an artificial limit. It’s even more wrong in the midst of a growing epidemic,” said Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan).

City & State: Cuomo allies are aplenty on the Medicaid Redesign Team

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, who lead the health committees in the state Legislature, both expressed disappointment that NYC Health + Hospitals, the city’s public hospitals system, was left out especially given that New York City is expected to be hit particularly hard under the governor’s proposal to shift Medicaid costs onto localities. 

“As they say, ‘if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu,’” Gottried said in a statement. A week earlier, he and Rivera had criticized the governor and his administration for not providing updates about the selection for the team.

Daily News: ‘Nothing more than political theater’: Lawmakers raise doubts about Cuomo’s $6 billion Medicaid budget gap

ALBANY — Skeptical lawmakers skewered state health officials Wednesday as they sought details on Gov. Cuomo’s plan to tackle New York’s projected $6 billion Medicaid-induced budget deficit.

“It is a little bit concerning, scratch that, a lot, very concerning that you are coming to a public hearing on Jan. 29 and you’re telling us that by April 1 we have to just accept something that’s put together by a magical crew of folks,” Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx), the chairman of his chamber’s health committee, said as he peppered state Health Department commissioner Howard Zucker and state Medicaid Director Donna Frescatore with questions about the proposal.

WSKG: Tensions Surface At Hearing On Proposed Cuts In Medicaid

ALBANY, NY (WSKG) – A lack of information on how Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to cut billions out of state-funded health care programs led to some tense moments at a legislative budget hearing Wednesday.

Cuomo, in his budget address, said he will convene a commission to decide how to cut $2.5 billion in Medicaid spending to help close a $6 billion budget gap without harming recipients.

But that commission, known as the Medicaid Redesign Team, won’t report back until sometime in March, potentially just weeks or even days before the state budget is due, leaving the Legislature little time to analyze the proposals.

Buffalo News: The Medicaid muddle: Cuomo’s budget proposal creates worry and confusion

Cuomo said the MRT panel should hold counties “harmless” in its plan and that Medicaid recipients should not see benefits affected. What’s that leave? Real cuts to providers? Tax hikes on private insurance plans? New ways to reduce waste or fraud?

“I’m incredibly concerned that the governor’s office has yet to release the necessary details we need to assess the potential impact on our localities’ Medicaid share,” said Sen. Gustavo Rivera, a Bronx Democrat who heads the Senate health committee. He said Cuomo’s fiscal overview suggests New York City – and “particularly residents of my district” – will feel end up seeing actual Medicaid cuts.

Gottfried, the Manhattan lawmaker, is even more pointed. “It’s hard to believe that it isn’t a sham,’’ he said of the MRT route. He thinks it’s quite possible Cuomo’s budget team already has specific plans that will be rubber stamped by the MRT. Gottfried served on the 2011 MRT, and he eventually praised the end product.

NY Post: Cuomo proposes 3 percent tax on new medical facilities

Many health care firms looking to erect new medical facilities face a fat tax hike under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $178-billion budget plan.

But health care advocates and analysts said the 3 percent surcharge is a sick tax that should be rejected.

“This does not seem to be fully thought through. In the Public Health Law, ‘hospital’ is a broad term that includes not only things we ordinarily call hospitals, but also community health centers, clinics, nursing homes, etc,” said Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan).

Bloomberg Law: New York’s Medicaid Budget Is Bleeding; Some Want Cash Infusion

The governor, in his Jan. 8 address, called the current situation “unsustainable” and referenced the state’s Medicaid Redesign Team, or MRT, which he created in 2011.

Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard N. Gottfried (D) called the MRT largely a “sham.”

Many of the problems the state is experiencing came from changes made by the redesign, like moving toward managed care plans, he said. “I believe that the only responsible answer to this increase in Medicaid spending is on the tax side of the ledger.”

Bloomberg News: New Yorkers to Pay 20 Percent Sales Tax on Vaping Products

“There’s certainly no reason why we should be taxing different nicotine delivery systems differently, whether they’re tobacco cigarettes or e-cigarettes,” said Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried (D), who chairs the Health Committee. “The experience is pretty clear that taxing the product discourages use.”

Crain’s: Assembly and Senate propose restoration of Medicaid funding

The Assembly and state Senate on Tuesday released details of their budget proposals, restoring $550 million in Medicaid funding that Gov. Andrew Cuomo had stripped from his spending plan after a downward revision in expected tax revenue.