Coalition of Healthcare Unions, Community Organizations, Hospital & Nursing Home Leaders Join Bi-Partisan Group of State Legislators To Call on Governor Kathy Hochul to Fully-Fund Medicaid For Hospitals & Nursing Homes Across The State Now

February 7, 2024


Press Release: February 6, 2024
April Ezzell, (716) 449-1620
1199SEIU Communications


Visual & Interview Opportunity


Community Coalition kicks off joint effort to demand full funding for Medicaid Health Insurance Program 
in Governor’s Hometown


A portion of New York’s huge, unprecedented reserves must be used to close the Medicaid Health Insurance funding gap, save struggling hospitals and nursing homes, prevent slashing of maternity and mental health services, and protect low-income seniors, children, families and people with disabilities

Buffalo, New York  On Friday, February 9th, WNY & Niagara County state legislative leaders, hospital and nursing home leaders, healthcare advocates, healthcare unions, labor leaders and healthcare workers will hold a joint press conference to demand that Governor Kathy Hochul address New York’s dire Healthcare funding crisis by fully funding Medicaid Health Insurance reimbursements for hospitals and nursing homes.


“Western New York Hospitals and Nursing homes struggle with some of the lowest Medicaid rates in New York state that don’t even come close to covering the cost of care,” said Todd Hobler, 1199SEIU Executive Vice-President for Upstate/WNY.  “Governor Hochul’s budget not only fails to address this inequity but makes it worse by proposing cuts in healthcare funding. The Governor needs to do better for the people of Western New York,” said Hobler.  


New York State’s chronic underfunding of Medicaid contributes to poor health outcomes largely in the Black and Latino communities, particularly affecting low-income seniors, expectant mothers, young children from low-income families, and people with disabilities. Some 43% of children in the city of Buffalo live in poverty, many of whom rely on Medicaid health insurance for their care. 


“It's time for New York State to make the right choice for the people of New York and prioritize the health and well-being of our communities, said Debora Hayes, Area Director, CWA District 1. “Closing the Medicaid gap and ensuring hospitals and healthcare workers have what they need to serve their patients is not just a necessity but a moral imperative,” said Hayes. 


Over seven million New Yorkers rely on Medicaid for their healthcare, many in Western New York. Even though Medicaid provides vital coverage to these New Yorkers, the state pays hospitals 30% less than the actual cost of care hospitals and 24% less to nursing homes.  As a result of this underfunding, hospitals and nursing homes in New York continue to struggle financially more than in the rest of the U.S.— with nearly two-thirds of NY hospitals facing operating deficits. Ninety-percent of nursing homes in Western New York have Medicaid reimbursement rates that fall below the statewide average, compounding staffing shortages and pushing facilities to the financial brink.


Without sufficient funding in the Governor’s final budget, many hospitals and nursing homes, cannot invest in programs or infrastructure that benefit patients and residents and communities they serve. In WNY, Eastern Niagara Hospital abruptly closed, Mount St. Mary’s Hospitals has closed service lines and some nursing homes are on the brink of closure. Overcrowding in hospital emergency rooms and staffing issues in nursing homes are a real threat to the continuum of care for all patients and residents across the state and the Governor must invest the funds necessary to fix the healthcare crisis in New York state now.  



New York State legislators, hospital and nursing home representatives, healthcare advocates, healthcare workers, labor union leaders call for Governor Hochul to fully fund Medicaid Health Insurance Program


Rev. Mark Blue, President NAACP Buffalo Chapter

Senator Tim Kennedy (D)
Senator Patrick Gallivan (R)
Assemblywoman Monica Wallace (D)*
Dawn Hirsch, McGuire Group
Chris Koenig, President & CEO, Schofield Residence
Stephen Turkovich, MD, President of Oishei Children’s Hospital
Representative from Catholic Health
Cori Gambini, RN & President of CWA 1168



Friday, February 9, 2024 at 11:00 AM 



1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
2421 Main St., Suite 100

Buffalo, NY 14214


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.

The New York Alliance for Healthcare Justice (NYAHJ) is dedicated to ensuring that Medicaid reimbursements cover the full cost of care, so that all New Yorkers have access to quality health care. NYAHJ is an initiative through the Healthcare Education Project (HEP), a community-based advocacy organization working to protect and expand access to quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans through education, advocacy, and coalition building. HEP is a joint effort of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the Greater New York Hospital Association, founded 
in 1999.