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January 15, 2004

Governor's Medicaid task force offers ideas to cut Medicaid spending

The Governor's Medicaid task force has urged reforms it says would cut spending on Medicaid in New York by $4.2 billion over the next five years.

The task force singled out long-term care as a key cost driver and said the state should release counties from paying for expensive long-term treatment.

The task force proposed creating a program to coordinate long-term care and provide alternatives, such as home care, to lengthy nursing homes stays.

The task force plan would also:

The Governor's task force proposals came a few weeks after Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno announced his task force's ideas on limiting Medicaid spending. Those ideas, including a state takeover of county and New York City costs for Family Health Plus, would cut overall spending $2.5 billion over five years, Senator Bruno said.

Hospitals and hospital workers' unions, meanwhile, are proposing that the state raise taxes and increase state borrowing to increase Medicaid spending and hospital aid.

New York's per-capita Medicaid spending is about 2.5 times the national average, and the state spends more on Medicaid than 40 other states spend on everything. If New York simply cut per-capita Medicaid spending to twice the national average, taxpayers would save over $4 billion a year, according to estimates by The Public Policy Institute.