Four Manhattan electeds penned a letter to New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D) and New York State Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie (D), calling on them to ensure that the state budget includes satisfactory healthcare funding.
The letter was signed by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen), along with City Council Members Carlina Rivera (D-East Village, Gramercy Park), Mark Levine (D-Manhattan Valley, Manhattanville, Hamilton Heights) and Diana Ayala (D-East Harlem, Motthaven). In was sent out on Tuesday, March 19.
Johnson and co. expressed concern that the state budget, if passed as is, would cut healthcare funding by $1 billion total. Among the proposed cuts are a 0.8 percent decrease in Medicaid reimbursement rates, a $275 million cut to the Indigent Care Pool (ICP) fund, and a $200 million cut to the first year of the Healthcare Transformation Fund’s (HTF) budget.
Both ICP and HTF serve the purpose of properly compensating hospitals that treat patients who cannot afford treatment.
The letter also included a proposal, entitled the “NYC Health + Hospitals Community Proposal”, designed to correct inequities in the current state distribution of ICP And HTF funding. The proposal would redirect the allocation of ICP and HTF funds towards hospitals that serve the highest proportion of uninsured and Medicaid patients and increase the total amount of funding for safety net hospitals, among other measures.
“New York City and State are home to a disproportionate number of uninsured and underinsured individuals, including immigrants who do not qualify for insurance and people who cannot afford coverage,” reads the letter. “As leaders who provide critical oversight over the city’s healthcare network, we urge you to protect our vital safety net hospitals from the health care cuts in the proposed Executive Budget and instead follow the recommendations of the ‘NYC Health + Hospitals Community Proposal’ to bring healthcare equity to our most vulnerable populations.”