Local Hospital & Nursing Home Workers Join Statewide Effort in Albany Demanding Full Funding for New Yorkers Covered by Medicaid Health Insurance Program

January 24, 2024

1199SEIU Logo 1@3x.pngPress Release: January, 24, 2024
Contact: April Ezzell, (716) 449-1620
1199SEIU Communications

Photos & Video Here: ​Folder icon Buffalo Healthcare Workers Lobby in Albany 01232024

Local Healthcare workers traveled to Albany to yesterday to lobby WNY Senate & Assemblymembers in demand for full funding to Medicaid Health Insurance program as Governor Hochul’s proposed budget includes more than $1 billion in cuts to healthcare 

Cuts to Medicaid could result in more hospital and nursing home closures, patients going without critical care and caregivers continuing to work without enough staff

Buffalo, NY - A dozen hospital and nursing home workers from Western New York traveled to Albany, joining other healthcare workers from across the state to lobby New York State Senate & New York State Assembly for Medicaid Equity yesterday. Caregivers attended the joint Legislative Hearing on Healthcare, listened to testimony given by 1199SEIU President George Gresham and Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) President Kenneth Raske and later lobbied NYS Senate and Assembly members from Western New York.  

Healthcare workers came to Albany on behalf of their patients and residents to draw attention to drastic cuts in Governor Hochul’s proposed budget and to addresses Western New York’s dire Medicaid funding crisis by urging leaders to fully fund Medicaid Health Insurance Program.  

“I came to Albany today to support change and to encourage the legislature and the Governor to fix the budget.  I’m not only advocating for safety net hospitals that provide care to babies in the Neonatal ICU, but also for their families,” said Juliette Negron, RN at Kaleida Health’s Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo.  

In testimony, 1199SEIU President George Gresham said: “We believe that all New Yorkers deserve equal access to quality healthcare, no matter their income or zip code,” said Gresham. “Yet, New York State’s Medicaid program pays hospitals 30% less than the full cost of the care they provide. 

Chronic underfunding of Medicaid has created a crisis that is pushing New York hospitals to their fiscal breaking point and severely threatening care for our most vulnerable New Yorkers. 

Failure to fully fund Medicaid is not an option. The time is now to take action to fix this crisis and close the gap before it’s too late,” said Gresham.

Over seven million New Yorkers rely on Medicaid for their healthcare, the majority of whom come from Black and Latino communities. New York’s Medicaid (Health Insurance) coverage pays hospitals 30% less than the actual cost of care hospitals provide. The chronic underfunding not only endangers healthcare providers like hospitals and nursing homes, but also jeopardizes health outcomes to low-income patients, including seniors, children, mothers, and people with disabilities, who rely on the underfunded insurance for their care. 

Eastern Niagara Hospital in Lockport abruptly closed its doors[1] after a century of providing care to the Niagara County community, forcing residents to drive longer distances to seek care.  With the closure of ENH last June, Niagara Falls Memorial has seen a recent influx of patients as the only full service hospital left in Niagara County.[2]  

"The governor’s proposed budget ignores and further exacerbates the crisis in our nursing homes," said Grace Bogdanove, 1199SEIU Vice-President for WNY Nursing Homes.   "Without immediate and significant investment in the long-term care industry, nursing homes across the state and several in WNY will close, critical services will be cut, and the most vulnerable members of our communities will be left without care," said Bogdanove. 

Local Healthcare workers will continue their lobbying efforts and actions both locally and in Albany over the next weeks and months ahead.  Healthcare workers are demanding that Governor Kathy Hochul provide fully funded Medicaid health insurance coverage for their patients, residents, hospitals and nursing homes to prevent further service line, or hospital and nursing home closures in the Governor’s hometown. 



1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 400,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all.

[1] Eastern Niagara Hospital closing abruptly (spectrumlocalnews.com)
[2] Ruffolo: Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center pledges to keep health care local (wnypapers.com)