Legislative Alert: March 19, 2021

President's Message

Improve Health Care

In 2020 prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, the state created an MRT II Task Force to cut $2.5 billion in Medicaid funding. It was a mere week after the MRT II process started that hospitals and other health care facilities were on the verge of overflowing due to the worst health care crisis in our lifetime. It is important to note, the state was making these cuts despite Wall Street performing at record highs, unemployment was at record lows and the economy was in overall great shape.

This year more Medicaid cuts were proposed. Over $180 million in another round of across-the-board cuts are proposed for hospitals, following two previous years of similar cuts, as well as steep cuts in long-term managed care and a slew of other reductions.  

Medicaid is a lifeline to health care for over 40% of the state’s population, many of whom are not able to work because of age, illness, or disability. Many others that rely on Medicaid are victims of the pandemic’s effect on the state’s economy. Simply put, Medicaid is vital to the overall quality of health care in the state and provides access for millions of New Yorkers.

We need to do more to make sure this vital program is properly funded so we can finally end this current crisis with the minimal amount of damage possible. As we move forward, we need to make sure that health care is available to everyone who does not have access to private insurance. Too many lives literally depend on it.  

As we fight for sufficient Medicaid funding, we must also fight to ensure that providers spend that money on those providing care at the bedside rather than excessive administrative costs and profit. That includes nursing home reform proposals that would require home operators to devote 70% of their revenue to resident care and 40% on staffing.

Mario Cilento, President

Call To Action

Monday, March 22, 2021, 1:00 p.m.
Senator Gounardes, Chair of Committee on Civil Service and Pensions
will be the guest speaker.
This will be a zoom meeting.

Issue of the Week

          Labor Standards are Crucial to the Success of Adult-Use Cannabis      

The NYS AFL-CIO strongly supports labor peace agreements and solid labor standards as initial licensing and ongoing oversight requirements in the legal and safely regulated adult-use cannabis market. Only with strong labor standards and a unionized workforce can we ensure that the maximum economic, job creation and revenue benefits from this new industry are fully realized. By also strengthening and securing the medical cannabis industry, we can ensure that the unionized workers of the existing medical cannabis companies can continue to thrive as a new industry develops, while increasing access for patients across the State.

Economic and support programs need to be in place for individuals that have faced criminal justice, health and other socio-economic issues related to cannabis. The NYS AFL-CIO has partnered with our affiliate RWDSU, Cornell ILR and the Workforce Development Institute to establish a training and placement program to do just that.

The NYS AFL-CIO also supports small business participation and ownership opportunities in the new market. Entrepreneurial training and responsible business practices must be a part of that process.