State Budget Update 4/19

April 19, 2023

Lawmakers are in Albany, presumably to get out in front of the next budget extender deadline (tomorrow) however yesterday Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie responded to a reporter who asked him whether bail reform is locked down, by implying it is still under discussion.  The other hot button issue is the Governor’s housing plan.  The Governor wants to require localities to expand housing in their communities however there has been significant pushback from both houses for a variety of reasons.  Apparently, a compromise solution in which the state would incentivize localities to increase housing opportunities in their communities is not satisfactory to the Governor Hochul, and so she has signaled she will find other ways to develop affordable and other types of housing across the state.  In reality, it appears the Governor is close to losing one of her signature budget proposals.  She spoke with Politico yesterday and said that New York is missing out on a major opportunity to expand housing and the NYS Legislature is to blame.

We know that the executive budget proposals related to mental health and substance use disorder insurance issues are still under discussion. It appears the Assembly has moved from a place of being unwilling to include the proposals in the final budget to one in which there are 3 way discussions on more than a few of the 6 proposals that (when taken together) address access to care for New Yorkers with commercial insurance, regulatory changes to Network Adequacy standards, and that move the dial just a bit on the rate parity issue by requiring commercial insurers to pay the Medicaid rate to school-based mental health clinic providers for services provided to school-aged kids whose parents have private insurance.  One of the proposals that we haven’t talked a lot about includes a requirement for insurers to use an OMH sanctioned evidence-based, peer reviewed tool to conduct level of care assessments, and to perform utilization review. Many states across the country have passed laws requiring the use of such tools, and as we know, OASAS requires plans to use the LOCADTR unless the insurer has received express permission from OASAS to use an alternative tool. The NYS Council drafted a Memo of Support on this issue that will go out to the relevant committees and central staff who work for the leaders later this morning.  See attached.

We will talk more about ongoing state budget negotiations during our weekly call tomorrow morning at 9:15.  Looking forward to seeing you there!