New York proposes costly Medicaid cuts

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An interim report released Wednesday by the Health Care Reform Working Group proposed sweeping changes to Medicaid in New York that could save the state and local governments more than $6 billion over five years. The cost burden could be shifted to providers.

A panel appointed by Gov. George Pataki recommended creating a new nursing home model, closing eligibility loopholes, establishing a single point of entry into the state long-term care system and reducing governmental Medicaid costs.

The state could save more than $4.2 billion over five years, while local governments may save $2 billion.

"It's the right thing to do to look at the Medicaid program systematically," said Scott Amrhein, president of the Continuing Care Leadership Coalition, an affiliate of the Greater New York Hospital Association. "But we do have concerns about specific provider cuts that would reduce rates to long-term care providers in New York state by well over $100 million on an annual basis."