Medicaid Matters, a coalition of groups that represent participants in the health-care program for the poor, is keeping track of how its priority issues are faring in the budget process. So far, the Democrat-controlled Assembly is on board with three, including rejecting the increase in Medicaid co-payments that was recommended in the Medicaid Redesign Team’s report and including a higher income-tax surcharge on millionaires in its budget proposal. The GOP-led Senate has rejected a proposal that would remove ability of providers to write prescriptions from the state’s non-preferred drug list, which has many lower-cost generic drugs on it, without receiving prior authorization.
Medicaid Matters had a seat on the Medicaid Redesign Team but did not vote in favor of the panel’s recommendations. Gov. Andrew Cuomo formed the team to evaluate how to cut more than $2 billion out of Medicaid, which has nearly five million enrollees statewide. He added the proposals to his budget proposal. Some are highly controversial, such as a $250,000 cap on pain and suffering awards in medical-malpractice cases.
On the millionaires tax, Cuomo and the Senate oppose any extension or modification of a current income-tax surcharge on individuals who make more than $200,000 a year and couples who earn more than $300,000, which expires Dec. 31. Placing the surcharge on people who make more than $1 million a year would bring in more than $700 million in the latter part of the 2011-12 fiscal year, according to the Assembly.
This is Medicaid Matters’ Consumer Checklist: