Cuomo ponders deep Medicaid cuts for New York

Newly sworn New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a plan for deep cuts to the state's Medicaid program even as he might seek a waiver for additional funding, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Cuomo has proposed cutting projected Medicaid expenditures by $2.1 billion in the upcoming fiscal year. Along with the loss of federal matching funds, the proposed cuts could top $4 billion. Meanwhile, the expiration of stimulus funds that boosted Medicaid payments to states would put New York on the hook for an additional $3 billion.

The bleak realities faced by making such cuts could prompt Cuomo's administration to seek a waiver from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that could provide additional revenue.

Although Cuomo is expected to issue detailed plans on New York's Medicaid cuts next month, the WSJ suggests he would focus on better managing the care of recipients who suffer from severe mental illnesses and chronic drug problems. Such patients regularly appear in hospital emergency rooms and can regularly run up costs of more than $100,000 a year. The state may also try and enroll other more expensive patient populations into Medicaid managed care plans.

Any cuts proposed by Cuomo would have to overcome likely opposition from the state's powerful healthcare unions and political lobbies for the hospital industry.

For more:
- read the Wall Street Journal article
- read the Becker's Hospital Review article

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