State Academy of Family Physicians Applauds Governor Kathy Hochul’s Progressive and Inclusive Healthcare Budget for SFY 2023

By James Mumford, MD, President of NYSAFP | January 20, 2022

“Yesterday, Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled her first Executive Budget- for State Fiscal Year 2022-23.  The NYS Academy of Family Physicians commends the Governor’s Healthcare Budget as forward-thinking and prioritizing the needs of our most underserved communities in New York State.”

“The Executive Budget would remove barriers to accessible, high quality health coverage for lower income adults and families by increasing eligibility for the Essential Plan to up to 250% of the Federal Poverty level and expanding Child Health Plus coverage for additional services and removing monthly premiums for more families.  The Budget is also focused on improving maternal health and addresses health disparities by requiring Medicaid coverage of prenatal and postpartum care including coverage up to one full year after an individual has given birth (coverage is currently limited to 60 days following a pregnancy). We also strongly support the Governor’s proposal to waive co-pays and other cost sharing for reproductive services like abortion care in the commercial insurance market, and her proposals to ensure access to needed opioid antagonist and medication assisted treatment medications.”

“We further applaud the Governor’s strong focus on shoring up the healthcare workforce through bonuses, cost of living adjustments and Medicaid rate increases and restorations of prior year across-the-board Medicaid provider cuts.  The heroic efforts of physicians and other healthcare workers have been essential in assuring that New Yorkers continue to receive critical health care during the COVID pandemic. The additional financial support for health provider capital and infrastructure needs is also a welcome investment with a specific earmark for community-based providers.”

“Finally, we support the Executive Budget’s proposal for NY to join the interstate medical licensure compact, to streamline and support practice across state lines by physicians, and the proposal to move oversight of physician licensure to the State Health Department.  We are also pleased to see telehealth parity and coverage, along with continued coverage of the Physician Excess Insurance program through June of 2023.  We are uncertain how the proposed restructuring plan for this program would work.  This important program provides an extra layer of liability coverage for physicians and protects personal assets – critical protections for our physician workforce until we have comprehensive medical liability reform in the State.”

“We thank Governor Hochul for proposing these important policies and financial supports.  We look forward to working with the Governor and State Legislature to ensure that the enacted SFY 2023 budget supports the healthcare needs of all New York residents, especially our underserved communities and the health workforce, while addressing the serious health disparities in our system, so dramatically exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

NYSAFP represents over 7,000 physicians, residents and students in family medicine across the State. NYSAFP Family Physicians are board-certified and specialize in family medicine. Family physicians focus on the whole patient providing care throughout their lifetime.  They provide comprehensive healthcare services to treat diseases and injuries in all age groups from newborns to the geriatric population and across all medical fields. Family Physicians focus on prevention, wellness and overall care coordination for patients and family medicine is the only specialty to focus on the care of the entire family unit. Family Physicians are also a main source of primary health care in New York and across the country.