Weinberg Campus workers to walk out today to demand NYS Legislators invest in healthcareApril 24, 2023
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Contact: April Ezzell, firstname.lastname@example.org, 716-449-1620
Nursing home workers to rally outside facility joined by healthcare workers from across the area
As new polling shows that investment in healthcare is widely supported, caregivers demand passage of a budget that is in tune with New Yorkers’ priorities.
Buffalo, New York—Budget negotiations are entering their fourth week past the April 1st deadline and healthcare workers across New York State are continuing an unprecedented string of actions to focus attention to New York’s healthcare crisis that would further deteriorate if Medicaid isn’t funded adequately in the state budget. Workers are also calling for a reversal of major cuts to funding for safety-net hospitals and homecare workers’ wages contained in the Governor’s budget proposal.
The rally will happen days after new polling finds that New Yorkers, by a 4 to 1 margin, believe that a portion of New York’s $8.7 billion surplus should be invested into healthcare. Across party lines, 77% of voters favor the legislature’s one house budget proposals to raise Medicaid reimbursement rates so that they cover a larger share of the actual cost of care provided by doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes. New Yorkers rank investing in healthcare as a higher priority than bail reform, the poll found.
Failure to pass a timely budget has already caused a major lapse in healthcare funding, including the expiration of the 340b drug pricing program on April 1, eliminating some $525 million to community hospitals.
WHEN: Monday, April 24, at noon
WHERE: Weinberg Campus, 2700 N. Forest Road, Getzville, NY 14068
WHAT: Healthcare workers will rally 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 after the first COVID case was confirmed in New York, patients and 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. 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.
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.