The New York Times today explores one of the state’s biggest problems with solving its budget problems: The rising cost of the Medicaid health insurance program.
Times reporter Nicholas Confessore chose two Oswego County nursing homes to illustrate the problem:
The Sunrise Nursing Home and the Manor at Seneca Hill nursing home sit just a few miles from each other in Oswego County near the shores of Lake Ontario. They each have 120 beds and serve comparable patient populations.
Yet under state law, New York taxpayers will reimburse Seneca Hill about $62,681 this year for each Medicaid patient under its care, while Sunrise will get about $45,829, according to the State Department of Health. That is because each home was given its own base rate more than 20 years ago — and under state law, the department cannot adjust those rates, no matter how much they reflect each home’s current costs and services. The only budgeting decision that the governor and lawmakers typically make each year is whether to grant the homes an inflation adjustment upward.
The administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo is taking aim at the Medicaid cost issue, hoping that a new commission will provide recommendations for controlling costs that the Legislature will approve.