Each January, the Governor of New York proposes a budget for the state, with full details on program and department funding, as well as any policy proposals that would have an impact on state spending for the new year. This "Governor's Budget" is only a proposal. None of it is enacted until the State Assembly and Senate pass it. And while what is eventually passed usually looks something like the original budget proposal, at least in broad terms, many details of the final budget can be different. Cuts can be restored or shifted. New ideas can be adopted, altered, or eliminated. Some departments and programs will get less that what the Governor may have proposed, some more.
In other words, the Governor's proposed budget is never a "done deal" on the day of it's announcement. There is time for negotiations, and for advocates like those of us concerned with disability issues to make our arguments for how we feel state resources should be used and allocated.
The following is an initial look at Governor Cuomo's proposed 2018 budget, highlighting aspects that are relevant to people with disabilities in the State of New York. The analysis is provided by the New York Association on Independent Living:
Given that New York State has a budget deficit of over $4 billion, all expectations were that this would be a difficult budget year. The following is an initial overview of relevant proposals in the proposed Executive Budget.
Funding for Independent Living Centers:
The proposed budget keeps IL level funded for yet another year. While this is very disappointing, given the budget climate, it is not a surprise. We will turn our advocacy to the legislature for support for an increase in the Senate and Assembly budgets.
Health / Medicaid:
The proposed Executive Budget includes a number of proposals designed to limit future enrollment in Medicaid Managed Long Term Care (MLTC). These proposals include:
- New applicants must have a UAS score 9+ and require community based LTSS for more than 120 consecutive days. Given that the nursing home level of care is a UAS score of 5, this is a very high bar.
- Limits participants switching MLTC plans to once a year
- Carves out nursing homes from MLTC
- Carves out non-emergency transportation from MLTC
- Bans MLTC plans from marketing their program.
Additional Medicaid proposals include:
- Eliminate spousal refusal
- Reduce resources that a community spouse can maintain to $24,180
- Commissions study of home care availability in rural areas. Based on assessment, made $3 million, minus costs of analysis, to go toward Medicaid rate increases for fee for service as well as NHTD and TBI Waivers.
- Increases number of Assisted Living Program (ALP) beds
- Requires background checks for care managers interacting with children or adults with developmental disabilities
- Raises the cap on physical therapy (PT) visits from 20 to 40, but leaves 20 limit cap on occupational therapy and speech therapy
- Eliminates prescriber prevails
Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) is level funded at $1.1 million.
- Level funds Access to Home at $1 million
- Re-appropriates funds for Access to Home for Veterans
- Does not include a Visitability Tax Credit
The budget includes proposals for early voting and same day voter registration
- Includes a commitment to launch a peer support initiative for adult home residents to help transition to the community
- Funds 200 new supported housing beds
We will continue to review the budget for relevant proposals as we begin to develop NYAIL’s Budget response. Please let me know if you identify additional proposals in the budget on which we may want to respond.
Director of Advocacy
New York Association on Independent Living
The North Country Center for Independence will be joining NYAIL and the other independent living centers in New York in a Legislative Day in Albany, Monday, February 12, 2018. This will be our first organized opportunity to tell our state legislators, and the Governor, what our concerns are, and proposed better ways to support New Yorkers with disabilities. Click here for more details on the NYAIL Legislative Day.