About 300 members of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East descended on the state Capitol Tuesday to lobby lawmakers about Medicaid funding and the heightened oversight of public dollars, among other issues.
The union said efforts are aimed at protecting Medicaid funding and eliminating what it views as greed and corruption in a publicly funded health care system.
The Legislature opened the health care transformation fund last year, providing for the first Medicaid rate increases in a decade. The union said there is opportunity to stay on that trajectory, including through increasing the Medicaid global cap by 3.6%.
“The health care transformation fund last year, we certainly pushed for that and see that as a step in the right direction. But we want to make sure that we don’t go backward,” said Helen Schaub, vice president and state director of policy and legislation at the union.
The union further urged that “any reforms to the indigent care pool should not harm the safety-net institutions, including private ones, that care for the uninsured and Medicaid patients.”
Also on the union’s agenda Tuesday was greater oversight when it comes to Medicaid managed care.
It called for the passage of legislation that would ensure the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General is able to hold all Medicaid providers—whether they are paid directly by Medicaid or by an intermediary, such as a managed-care company—accountable.
“Public dollars need public oversight,” the union stated.
The union said, managed-care companies should be required to pass on to employers the entirety of minimum wage funds they receive. It also said the Legislature should approve Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $15 million investment in expanded in-home service for the elderly to provide services to seniors who are above the Medicaid threshold.