A NYer was named a public official of the year

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jason helgerson governing magazine

New York Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson was among nine public officials honored by Governing magazine as among the most “outstanding leaders in state and local government.”

Helgerson was brought on by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2011 from Wisconsin to reign in the state’s massive Medicaid program, the largest of its kind in the nation.

“At $50 billion a year, New York’s spending on Medicaid in 2011 was the highest in the nation. Gov. Andrew Cuomo wanted a redesign, and Helgerson has led it,” Governing magazine said in its description.

Medicaid, after school aid, is the largest state expense in its $137 billion budget. The program is funded by federal, state and local governments.

Helgerson led an effort to put a cap on Medicaid spending and revamped the program.

“Since 2009, spending per patient has fallen steadily, to 2003 levels, and overall spending has actually declined,” the magazine’s description continued.

“That’s all remarkable on its own, but now Helgerson is also launching what is arguably the largest Medicaid overhaul ever, in any state. At a time when out-of-control health-care costs demand bold ideas and new thinking, Helgerson is leading the way.”

In its 24th year, the annual Public Officials of the Year program “honors leaders from state, city and county government who exemplify the ideals of public service,” the magazine said.

Helgerson joins California Gov. Jerry Brown; New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu; Prince George’s County, Md., County Executive Rushern Baker III; Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers; Wayne County, Mich., County Prosecutor Kym Worthy; Los Angeles Police Department Commander Phil Tingirides and Sergeant Emada Tingirides; Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority CEO & General Manager Joseph Calabrese.

(Photo via Governing Magazine)

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