Governor’s State of the State Address

January 8, 2020

The State of the State book was released today containing the entire range of priorities the Governor wants to focus on during the upcoming Legislative session.  His speech today discussed only a small portion of these priorities.  Here are my notes on the parts of his Agenda of relevance to our sector.

Note:  During his speech, the Governor was silent on the specific needs of the Human Services sector.  

The Governor did discuss his commitment to further social and economic equality in New York. It will be up to all of us to make crystal clear to all state leaders that our workforce must not be left behind in these advancements, that our organizations are economic engines that are now at a dangerous tipping point, and the individuals we serve are at-risk of losing the very programs and services that assist them to recover, maintain their community tenure and engage in meaningful employment that assists with the continued prosperity of New York.

Stand by for more information regarding the Governor’s Legislative agenda as described in the written version of his SOS Address.


Rough Notes

The Governor began with some comments regarding the turbulent times we now find ourselves in as a nation and here in NYS.  Next he moved to a discussion of what constitutes a progressive agenda for NYS? He answered his own question by outlining some of NY’s most progressive accomplishments over the last 10 years (his current years of service as Governor of NYS).  

Governor stated one of his ongoing and top priorities is to continue advancements in economic and social justice issues. 

Economic Justice Crusade will continue

Large businesses and corporations don’t do enough to protect workers from economic exploitation.  Forty percent of all workers will be employed by so called ‘gig economy’ and far too many large corporations are increasing their profits at the expense of employees.  

Proposed Paid Sick Leave for Workers

Under the legislation he said he will propose, businesses with five to 99 employees would provide at least five days of job-protected paid sick leave per year and those with more than 100 employees would provide at least seven days per year.  Smaller businesses with four or fewer employees would guarantee five days of unpaid, but job-protected, sick leave.

Social Progress

“Communities of color disproportionately impacted by marijuana laws.  This year, we will work with our neighbor states to coordinate a safe and legal system and legalize adult use of marijuana.”

Will propose first ever Global Cannabis and Hemp Research Center to be located here in NY.

Proposed to increase economic fairness through wrap around services via First 1000 Days Initiative (need more info on this)


Issue has been studied, litigated, to death.  Don’t need to reinvent the wheel.  We know what works.  We know there are 2 factors that are predictive of positive solutions:

1) Commitment of resources

2) Competence of Administration (focus on competence of local governments when it comes to using resources wisely – definitely a shot at Mayor DeBlasio)

This year NYS will commit largest single commitment in NYS history to decreasing homelessness and affordable housing.


Out-of-Network Medical Charges

Three-point plan this afternoon that seeks to strengthen the state’s protections from out-of-network medical charges.

The governor called for expanding New York’s out-of-network billing law, requiring disclosure of facilities fees and shortening the statute of limitations to collect on medical debt. Proposed amendments to New York’s out-of-network protections that would prohibit all hospitals and emergency doctors from directly billing consumers for out-of-network services. Would also ensure that all hospitals are required to participate in the independent dispute resolution process, according to the State of the State book released along with his speech. Also called for requiring the disclosure of facility fees, which are charged in addition to fees for professional services provided in physicians’ offices owned or affiliated with a hospital, or that are independent physician practices that perform office-based surgery.Further proposed distinguishing medical debt from consumer debt and shortening the statute of limitations to collect unpaid medical debt from six to three years. (Source:  Politico)


$6B Budget gap due to increasing Medicaid expenses.  Good news? 90% of NYS citizens have some kind of healthcare coverage – ‘a remarkable achievement’ but now we must pay for it.Today we face federal cuts and Medicaid cost increases and our past spending is re-visiting us.  Six years ago NYS decided to forgive local governments for their local Medicaid cost increases where local government no longer share the costs of their Medicaid spending and we have seen dramatically higher spending in local governments.  Situation unsustainable,  Must do more restructuring of Medicaid via new MRT Program.   

Local Governments and Medicaid

During the Governor’s address earlier today he discussed what sounds like an interest in reducing County administrative powers/discretion as to Medicaid eligibility (and payments), and possibly re-introducing a county local share (worth $3 billion plus).  As you will recall, 6 years ago the Governor proposed and the Legislature agreed to cap Medicaid growth at 2%, and the state took over the costs of the local share of Medicaid (Hold Harmless).   His words today appeared to signal his interest in taking more control over local decision-making around eligibility (and payments).

The Governor also praised the work of the state’s Medicaid Redesign Team for its’ efforts to ‘reform’ the state’s Medicaid Program.  (In this context one could construe he was referring to the MRT proposals that held down spending) and while he did not expressly state that he wants to populate a new MRT, it sounded like that is what’s coming.  We’ve also heard that Deputy Secretary for Health and Human Services Paul Francis has been working on this for some months now so this makes sense,


Gov said steps we’ve been taking are finally working with last year being the first year where we saw a decline in opioid deaths in over 10 years.  Now, let’s ban all Fentanyl analogs and expand access to MAT.  (That’s all the Governor said on this topic during his speech)