1199SEIU Healthcare Workers & Major WNY Providers Come Together To Sound the Alarm: Gov. Hochul’s Budget Neglects NY’s Healthcare Needs, Especially In Upstate Where Medicaid Coverage Gaps Puts Hospitals & Nursing Homes On Brink Of ClosureApril 4, 2023
Thousands of Healthcare Workers will rally statewide Wednesday to Protest Governor Hochul’s Proposed Budget
WHO: Healthcare Workers, Labor Unions, Healthcare Providers, Elected Officials
WHEN: Wednesday, April 5, 2023
WHERE: Press Conferences & Media Availability at the Following Locations:
3:30 pm – 4:00 pm only *Masks required at all times*
Oishei Children’s Hospital, 818 Ellicott St, Buffalo, NY 14203
New Era Cap Pavilion Lobby
WHAT: As part of the statewide push, healthcare workers and area employers in Buffalo and Rochester will hold press events speaking out about the budget and its proposed cuts to healthcare. At other facilities around the state, healthcare workers will rally outside their institutions, to raise the alarm of New York’s healthcare crisis and the need to Close the Medicaid Coverage Gap in the FY2024 state budget.
WHY: Three years ago, as the pandemic was turning our world upside down, New Yorkers called healthcare workers heroes. Now, healthcare workers will be making the noise: raising the alarm that Governor Hochul has proposed a budget that completely fails to grasp the gravity of the crisis facing NY’s healthcare system.
Today, patients and healthcare workers continue to face the pandemic’s aftershocks. Safety-net hospitals are on the brink of closure, emergency rooms are overflowing, nursing home residents face interminably long wait times for bedside care, and homecare services are becoming ever harder to come by.
Rather than making the necessary investments to stabilize healthcare services, Governor Hochul’s budget would make the situation worse. Her proposed 5% Medicaid rate increase is entirely offset by the elimination of savings from the 340b drug pricing program and the cut to the Indigent Care Pool. The budget includes cuts of $700 million from safety net hospitals, reverses course on a major victory last year raising the pay of homecare workers to $3 above the minimum wage, reduces wages for consumer-directed home health aides by $4.09/hr., and fails to provide adequate funding increases to nursing homes as they struggle to recruit and retain staff to comply with nursing home reform laws.
With stagnating Medicaid funding and a depleted and burnt-out workforce, an austere healthcare budget would be devastating to New Yorkers, especially seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income families.
1199SEIU is calling on NY’s elected leaders to invest $2.5 billion in healthcare in the FY2024 budget, including the following:
(The one-house budget proposals recently released by Speaker Carl Heastie and Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins make many of these commitments, and they must be fulfilled in the final budget.)
Increase Medicaid reimbursement rates by 10% for hospitals and 20% for nursing homes, with no offsets.
Restore the $700 million in safety-net funding and increase it by an additional $600 million.
Address the disparity in reimbursement rates in upstate New York, which are approximately 20% lower than downstate.
Preserve the investment made last year in Fair Pay for Home Care to stabilize the homecare workforce and undo the drastic proposed cuts to wages for workers employed through the consumer-directed program.
Raise the minimum wage to $21.25 by 2027, followed by indexing.
Wednesday’s event comes two weeks after some 15,000 members of 1199SEIU held the largest rally in decades at the Capitol on 3/21, calling attention to the severe impact that Gov. Hochul’s proposed budget would have on access to healthcare in New York’s most vulnerable communities. Photos of the Albany rally can be found here.
On 3/29, hundreds of 1199SEIU members and supporters held a “funeral march” through the streets of New York City to the door of the Governor’s office to raise awareness of the deadly impact of healthcare cuts. Over two dozen participants, including 1199SEIU President George Gresham and hospital and nursing home workers, engaged in an act of non-violent civil disobedience and were arrested. Photos and video of the 3/29 march and civil disobedience action can be found here.
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 450,000 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.