Crisis averted: it looks like a potential collision between Governor Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Democrats over the Medicaid redesign proposal may not happen, after all.
Speaker Sheldon Silver has released a statement in support of the plan, and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried–the proposal’s most outspoken opponent thus far–has reconsidered his position, and now says that he approves of the redesign plan as well.
“I commend the members of the Medicaid Redesign Team for their work to find substantial savings in Medicaid while preserving quality care for New Yorkers,” said Silver. “We look forward to reviewing the MRT’s final report and reiterate the Assembly’s commitment to delivering an on-time budget that reflects the overwhelming consensus that emerged from the MRT process.”
Gottfried, a Democrat who also served on Cuomo’s task force to design the proposal, expressed his doubts about the plan when he told the media last night that he thought the savings estimates were overly optimistic. Cuomo met this resistance with grim determination, telling Fred Dicker this morning that he expected opposition from those interested in protecting “the status quo”–including Democrats in the Assembly, where the proposal is headed next. The governor hinted that he wasn’t opposed to dropping the playing-nice routine, but the threat of force may be unnecessary in light of Gottfried’s new position.
“Despite the concern I voiced yesterday about the speed with which the MRT voted, I believe, on the whole, that the final report contains needed reforms that will place our Medicaid system on a path to long term financial sustainability while safeguarding quality healthcare for New Yorkers in need, the elderly and the disabled,” said Gottfried, who abstained in yesterday’s vote.
The redesign package will go in front of the state Legislature in the next month as a proposed amendment to the fiscal year 2011-12 budget.