New York’s Healthcare Community Increasingly Concerned as Funding Deadline Approaches

January 16, 2018

New York’s healthcare consumers, providers, health plans and workers have grown increasingly anxious about the future since the October 1st Federal budget deadline passed without funding for key healthcare programs. Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers (FQHCs) expired on September 30. New York is projected to burn through its CHIP reserves in two months. October 1 also saw the implementation of damaging cuts to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) funding to safety net providers and the expiration of funding for rural hospitals. To compound the problem, the Trump Administration ended the Federal government’s cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs) under the Affordable Care Act on October 1, endangering the Essential Health Plan, which provides affordable health insurance for 750,000 moderate-income New Yorkers, and creating uncertainty for people in the individual market.

In addition to these issues, pressing Medicare provisions, including therapy caps and outreach funding for low-income Medicare beneficiaries, need immediate bipartisan attention.

The budget deadline has been extended twice and is now January 19. Congress must act to fund the government or face a shutdown. New York’s healthcare community is united in calling on our Congressional delegation to ensure that any budget or budget extender includes full funding for health insurance for children and moderate-income New Yorkers, meaningful individual market stabilizers and restoration of funding for safety net clinics and hospitals. New York’s healthcare consumers, providers, and workers have waited long enough.

“It is almost beyond belief that our Congressional leaders have blown past each deadline to provide vitally needed funds for safety net providers and health insurance for children and moderate income families,” said 1199SEIU President George Gresham. “It is their moral responsibility to prevent needless stress and suffering for vulnerable patients, and to date, this responsibility has not been met. We call on Congress do its job to protect public health by fully funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Federally Qualified Health Centers and cost-sharing reduction payments, and postponing the damaging Disproportionate Share Hospital Medicaid cuts.”

“The clock is ticking, and the viability of a huge swath of New York’s health care delivery system is at stake,” said Greater New York Hospital Association President Kenneth E. Raske. “We urge Congress to work in a bipartisan fashion to swiftly pass legislation that funds these critically important health care programs. Equally important, Congress must protect financially struggling safety net hospitals by delaying severely harmful Medicaid DSH cuts for at least two years.”

“Congressional inaction on extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program puts healthcare coverage at risk for hundreds of thousands of kids in New York — this is unacceptable,” said HANYS President Bea Grause. "Moreover, the $350 million in cuts in this year alone to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital payments and the Medicare Dependent Hospital program the Low-Volume Payment Adjustment—critical federal funding programs for New York's hospitals and health systems serving vulnerable populations—will have real consequences for safety net providers and the patients and communities they serve. We urge Congress to come together in a bipartisan way to ensure these key healthcare programs are not left to deteriorate in the face of broad-based government funding disagreements.”

“New York has been a national leader in efforts to expand access to comprehensive, high-quality, affordable coverage. To protect the state’s health reform efforts and to provide certainty to New York’s health care system, it is vital that any funding resolution include meaningful measures that will stabilize the individual insurance market, ensure funding for CSR subsidies, and fully support CHIP. We remain committed to working with our Congressional delegation, along with Governor Cuomo and other state leaders, on measures to protect the advances our state has made to ensure access to coverage and to make health care affordable for New York residents, families, businesses and the state,” said Eric Linzer, President and CEO of the New York Health Plan Association.

“Failing to continue funding for these important programs threatens access to care for over a million New Yorkers, including countless children, who depend upon these programs to have coverage for the care they need” stated Dr. Charles Rothberg, President of the Medical Society of the State of New York “There is no credible reason for why funding for these programs should be controversial. We urge Congress and the President to work together to come to an agreement ASAP to assure funding for these essential programs are continued.”

“The time to act is now. Congress must stand up for the needs of millions of vulnerable individuals,” said Rose Duhan, President & CEO of the Community Health Care Association of New York State. “Failure to reauthorize funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers will tear a hole in the safety net and result in a loss of over $160 million in federal support to communities in New York State that will otherwise go without access to health care. I urge Congress to come together to ensure the continuing health of New York State’s primary care providers and the communities they serve.”

“For the past 100 days we have had to mitigate panic not only amongst families we serve but also amid our providers – many who fear for the worst. The uncertainty driven by a lack of decisive congressional action on CHIP and Community Health Center funding is irresponsible and potentially disastrous for the health and wellbeing of our states’ medically underserved children,” said Dennis Walto, Chief Executive Officer of the Children’s Health Fund.

District Council 37 AFSCME Executive Director Henry Garrido said “One million patients are seen every year in the NYC health and hospitals systems. It is cruel and unusual and frankly dangerous to leave the funding in such an uncertain state.”

"As doctors serving New York City public hospitals, we believe healthcare is a human right,” said Frank Proscia, M.D., President of Doctors Council SEIU. “Our nation’s most vulnerable patients - children and the underserved - will be disproportionally impacted without adequate federal funding to services that have been caught in a political stranglehold in Washington for too long. And our safety net hospitals - those hospitals that treat a disproportionately high number of uninsured and underinsured patients - are at risk of cutting services or shutting down without Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) funds. We call on Congress to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and delay scheduled cuts to DSH payments so that healthcare institutions and providers can continue to provide quality care to those that need it most.”

"New Yorkers are fed up with congressional inaction on vital health care funding," said Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York. "Congress must stop using the health and well-being of our children as a political bargaining chip, and act now to protect our children and families by restoring funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, the Essential Plan, Health Centers and Hospitals."

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
Cerebral Palsy Association of New York State
Children’s Health Fund
Citizen Action of New York
Civil Service Employees Association
Coalition of New York State Public Health Plans
Community Healthcare Association of New York State
Community Service Society of New York
Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State
Consumers Union
Continuing Care Leadership Coalition
District Council 37, AFSCME
Doctor’s Council SEIU
Empire Justice Center
Greater New York Hospital Association
Healthcare Association of New York State
Healthcare for All New York
Health Plan Association of New York State
Medical Society of the State of New York
Medicare Rights Center
New York Association on Independent Living
New York State AFL-CIO
New York State Nurses Association
Nurse Practitioner Association of New York State
New York State Association of Health Care Providers
New York StateWide Senior Action Council
New York State United Teachers
Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy
United University Professions