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Medicaid panel narrowing cut ideas

ALBANY – A panel looking to cut the costs of the state’s Medicaid program has gotten thousands of suggestions from the public and industry as it races toward a March 1 deadline for making its recommendations to the governor and Legislature.

While hardly the greatest cost-saver, the idea generating the single greatest volume: end Medicaid coverage for male infant circumcision procedures.

Jason Helgerson, the state’s Medicaid director, told his panel members in New York City this morning that the period for the public to give ideas to redesign the expensive health insurance program will end at the close of business this Friday.

After all the ideas received so far have been gone through, the Medicaid redesign team has narrowed them into a group of 274 different kinds of specific -- and some rather vague -- recommendations. Check them out here.

The ideas included a number of different calls to cut services to recipients -– including people who are poor, disabled or elderly -– that New York provides above and beyond what the federal government requires. Other ideas stretched from changing what providers get paid for services and expanding managed care programs for those on Medicaid to imposing a tax on sugar-based beverages as a way to raise money and cut obesity rates.

The task force team’s staff will be scoring the value of about 30 of the biggest impact items to present back to the panel by next week.

The panel’s work is being closely eyed because the governor did not provide a specific plan on how to cut health spending by about $3 billion this year. The deadline for the group’s work is March 1 -– just one month before the start of the fiscal year.

--Tom Precious

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

rmccarthy@buffnews.com


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

tprecious@buffnews.com


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | jterreri@buffnews.com


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | jzremski@buffnews.com

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