1199SEIU, GNYHA Tell Albany: Close the Medicaid Coverage Gap

January 19, 2023

Digital Ad Campaign Urges Lawmakers to Boost Inadequate Medicaid Rates that Threaten Low-Income New Yorkers’
Access to Care Amid
Worsening Mental Health Crisis

 New Poll Shows New Yorkers Strongly Support Increasing Medicaid Reimbursement Rates to Hospitals and Nursing Homes,
Including for Mental Health Services

January 19, 2023…The Healthcare Education Project—a joint initiative of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA)—today launched a statewide digital ad campaign calling on Albany to “Close the Medicaid Coverage Gap” by increasing chronically low Medicaid reimbursement rates that have disproportionately harmed New York’s most vulnerable communities.

The need for higher Medicaid reimbursement rates is especially urgent given the State’s worsening mental health crisis, as woefully inadequate Medicaid payments for mental health services have resulted in a severe shortage of inpatient psychiatric beds and mental health professionals.

The digital ads, which can be viewed here, are launching on Facebook and via Google search advertising, with various news sites (e.g., Politico, New York Times, local news) to follow. The ads highlight the State’s mental health crisis and urge New Yorkers to tell their lawmakers to “Close the Medicaid Coverage Gap.” Some of the ads include a “Take Action” step that enables individuals to deliver that message directly to their State legislators.

The 1199SEIU/GNYHA ad campaign comes at a time when New Yorkers strongly support increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates. In a December 2022 poll of New York voters by Hart Research Associates (see attached summary memo), 73% of respondents said the State should increase Medicaid reimbursement to doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes to cover more of the cost of care they provide to Medicaid patients, and 91% want the Governor and State Legislature to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to affordable, quality healthcare. And with the upcoming State budget expected to focus heavily on mental health, the poll found that 74% of voters favor increasing Medicaid funding specifically for mental health treatment.

“Medicaid is a lifeline for millions of New York families,” said George Gresham, President of 1199SEIU. “After three years of a devastating pandemic, it is more apparent than ever how essential it is to stabilize our healthcare system by properly funding this program. 1199SEIU caregivers call on NY legislators to Close the Medicaid Funding Gap so that safety net institutions have the resources to provide top-notch care, invest in safe staffing, and address the mental health crisis in communities across New York.”

“In just the last two months, two highly respected national organizations—Kaufman Hall and Fitch Ratings—have confirmed the severe financial headwinds that our hospitals are facing, including staffing challenges, rising labor and supply costs, and inflation,” said GNYHA President Kenneth E. Raske. “Without significant new Medicaid investments from Albany, some hospitals will be pushed to the financial brink. Fortunately, New Yorkers strongly support increasing Medicaid reimbursement to hospitals and nursing homes. This ad campaign will further educate the public and State legislators that it has never been more important for Albany to provide significant additional health care funding in the State budget, including for mental health services.”

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Brian Conway (212-506-5477 or conway@gnyha.org)

Bryn Lloyd-Bollard (732-606-5949 or bryn.lloydbollard@1199.org)