Spitzer battles NY's healthcare industry

After years of serving as a get-tough state's attorney general, New York state governor Eliot Spitzer (D) has proven that he's not afraid of a fight. Well, he's got a big one on his hands this time. The newly-minted governor, who's only been in office three months, is in a tough battle with the state's healthcare industry over Medicaid. As part of his 2007 budget, Spitzer is proposing a $1.2 billion cut in state Medicaid funding, the majority of which would come out of the pockets of hospital and nursing home operators. He has previously assailed state's Medicaid system, which ranks poorly for fighting disease but ranks as the nation's most costly. Spitzer is defending the cuts, which he says would amount to less than one percent of hospital revenues, as necessary to pay for school funding and property tax reductions, in addition to other direct healthcare spending.

The proposal has upset not only health industry executives and state healthcare unions, but also Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), a powerful figure who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee. Rangel has called the dispute--which is generating competing television attack ads from Spitzer and the unions--a "food fight" which must end before any compromise can be reached.

To get more information on Spitzer's initiative:
- read this Buffalo News article
- read this Newsday article detailing Rangel's concerns

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