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Zack Hutchins
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For Release — Tuesday, December 21, 1999

A Quick Look at the History of Health-Care
Entitlements in New York State

ALBANY—In 1966, Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller proposed, and the Legislature adopted, a health care program the Governor said would be “the most comprehensive program of its kind in the nation.” But the cost quickly escalated beyond even the wildest fears of its few opponents. And the revenue that was supposed to help pay for it (in this case, federal aid) never met the expectations of those who drafted the plan.

That program is still with us today. It’s called Medicaid. It costs the taxpayers $24.525 billion a year on a per-capita basis, well more than twice the national average. It costs the state government, alone, $8.6 billion a year (compared to the first estimate of $88 million a year). Here are some mileposts from its early days:

In current-dollar terms (that is, adjusted for inflation), today’s Medicaid program costs the state
approximately 11.3 times what was projected in 1966.

Click here to get a PDF copy of this release with attached excerpts from from Governor Rockefeller’s public papers.