In testimony submitted to the joint legislative budget committee on health and Medicaid, Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta said NYSUT's Health Care Professionals Council, chaired by Board member Anne Goldman of the United Federation of Teachers, appreciates certain reforms to the health care system proposed in the governor's executive budget.
However, he said, "we oppose any cuts that adversely affect the health care professional workforce and its ability to provide direct quality care to New York State residents, particularly the indigent. Such cuts to essential health care services serve only to compromise our health care professionals' ability to maintain and help the people of New York State."
NYSUT asks the Legislature to reinstate annual inflation factors for funding health care facilities, which are not included in the executive budget plan, and to reassess the Medicaid cap to allow for flexible spending when needed.
The Medicaid (state share) Spending Cap in the governor's budget would continue a year-to-year cap growth of no more than a 10-year rolling average of CPI (estimated at 3.2 percent) and allows the commissioner of the Department of Health to adjust the amount if spending exceeds the cap. Proposed increases in Medicaid spending under the 2017–18 Global Cap will total $18.26 billion, an increase of $567 million over 2016–17 spending.
The expenses associated with the Medicaid program are complex and costly, but NYSUT believes that such expenses are necessary and, therefore, urges the Legislature to consider amending/ expanding the cap and using inflation as a factor in facilities funding.
"NYSUT is concerned the effect of a perpetual cap on spending for our health care facilities will impact the delivery of health care services and programs by health care providers to our neediest New York State citizens," Pallotta said.
On another issue, the governor's budget would freeze the reimbursement of Medicare Part B premiums for all NYSHIP retirees with Medicare primary insurance. It would also eliminate the reimbursement of the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) for higher-income retirees. This means that, as the cost of Part B increases each year, retirees would have additional out-of-pocket health care costs. In essence, they would pay more for the same coverage. Pallotta asked lawmakers to support full reimbursement for IRMAA Medicare premiums by the state.
You can find NYSUT's full testimony on proposed health care funding at nysut.org.