Call it MRT 2.0 or maybe Medicaid Redesign: The Sequel.
Either way, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is turning once again to a panel to solve the nettlesome issue of a multi-billion dollar budget gap in the state's Medicaid program for the second time in his tenure as governor.
Cuomo on Tuesday unveiled the names that will comprise the panel, which prominent labor union, hospital executives and health care officials as well as allies in and outside of government.
Notable appointees include:
- Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, a prominent supporter of the governor in local government circles
- Robert Megna, the former budget director for both Cuomo and Gov. David Paterson who was later led the Department of Taxation and Finance. He is currently the senior vice chancellor and chief operating officer at SUNY.
- Mario Cilento, the president of the New York AFL-CIO.
- Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.
Co-chairing the team will be Dennis Rivera, the former president of the powerful health care union 1199SEIU and Michael Dowling, the president of Northwell Health.
Rounding out the commission are key advisors to Assembly and state Senate Democrats.
The commission has big work ahead of itself: a $2.5 billion budget gap that has fueled a $6.1 billion hole in the state budget. It will be tasked with developing recommendations for slowing growth in the health care program for the poor in New York, similar to the first panel created in 2011.
At the time, the original Medicaid Redesign Team was praised for reducing the rate of growth in spending for one of the costliest health care programs run by a state in the country.
But costs under the program, particularly for long-term care and wages with minimum wage increases, have ballooned in recent years.