From the NY Times:
The city’s public hospital system, the largest in the nation, is facing a fiscal crisis because New York State is threatening to cut its financing for the care of poor patients at a time when the number of uninsured patients has soared, city officials said Sunday.
The cuts, included in Gov. David A. Paterson’s executive budget proposal, could drain from the public hospitals up to $370 million, much of it in federal financing, and shift the money to programs in voluntary, or private, hospitals, the city officials said.
The officials said the cutbacks were the latest in a series of steps by the state to close a huge deficit by pulling back on longstanding budget commitments.
State budget officials said, however, that much of the proposed cutback was the result of federal stimulus money running out. They added that the governor’s proposal also called for the State Legislature to enact cuts to private hospitals, and that some of that money would go back to the public hospitals.
Yet the dispute between the state and the city goes deeper, with both sides at odds on how much would be cut and how, and even on where some of the money comes from.
Alan D. Aviles, the president of the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, which runs the 11-hospital public system, said the proposed cuts would severely weaken the system, putting it on a downward spiral similar to that faced by the city’s Roman Catholic hospital system. New York’s last Catholic hospital, St. Vincent’s in Manhattan, is now near bankruptcy and struggling to avoid shutting down.
“If you look at the Catholic system and St. Vincent’s, the instability in that system didn’t happen overnight,” Mr. Aviles said Sunday in a telephone interview. “Four or five years down the road here, we have to be looking at a replay of what happened to the Catholic medical system.”
The current budget struggle not only pits the state against the city, it also pits the public hospital system, the main safety net for the poor, against the city’s private, nonprofit hospitals, many of which are also struggling under the burden of a large number of poor patients.
MTA: layoffs, service cutbacks
Thank God we still have huge development schemes like Willets Point and Atlantic Yards or else the government wouldn't find anything they think is worth putting our money into.