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NY lawmakers cut $775 million from health care budget

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | June 08, 2010
Health care is in the crosshairs
as New York Governor Paterson
tries to balance the budget
Lawmakers approved hundreds of millions of dollars in budget cuts to health care in New York state Monday as part of emergency spending measures promoted by embattled Gov. David Paterson to keep state government going amidst a budgetary deadlock.

The vote on the emergency extender, which slashes $775 million from the health care budget, split along party lines in the state Senate in Albany, with 32 Democrats voting for it and all 26 Republicans present against.

The spending cuts come as the Empire State faces nearly $10 billion in deficits.

The measure aims to increase health care savings, in part, by calling for increased recouping of monies lost through Medicaid fraud.

The Greater New York Hospital Association estimates the cuts will also result in a loss of nearly $250 million dollars in federal subsidies to local hospitals.

The legislation drew outrage from medical groups, with one health care lobby comparing the governor's response to "BP's reaction to the Gulf oil spill."

"In the midst of severe medical staffing shortages and long waits for needed care, the governor just issued pink slips for thousands of desperately needed health care workers who care for our patients," Daniel Sisto, president of Healthcare Association of New York State, said in a statement.

The extenders bill passed by the legislature keeps the state government in funds until June 13. A final budget for the state, which was due April 1, remains to be passed.