With federal matching funds, proponents say the plan would let Albany "print money" for Medicaid. Illustration: Maia Hibbett
New York legislators have a plan to claim billions in federal funding for health care, driving a fight between industry groups.
By Sam Mellins

Have New York legislators figured out a way to get free money from the federal government? With a budget proposal to win $4 billion in federal dollars to fund Medicaid, the state’s health insurance program for low-income residents, that’s their hope.

Medicaid funding has emerged as one of the most divisive issues in the fight over this year’s budget, due April 1. Seeking to rein in the program’s $30 billion cost to New York, Governor Kathy Hochul proposed over $1 billion in cuts, which would include reducing wages for health aides and payments to nursing homes.

The legislature wants to go in the opposite direction, proposing billions of dollars in additional spending on hospitals, nursing homes, and other investments. The measures come on the heels of an aggressive campaign from the state’s main hospital lobby and largest healthcare workers’ union calling for a multi-billion-dollar boost in Medicaid funding.

Have you or somebody you know applied to a Conviction Integrity or Conviction Review Unit in New York to fight a wrongful conviction?

New York Focus and Columbia Journalism Investigations are taking a look at how these units work—and we’d like to hear from you.

First deployment of NYPD's Critical Response Command counterterrorism unit in 2016. Spencer T Tucker / New York City Police Department
Referencing a New York Focus story, Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas introduced legislation to prevent public agencies from naming the medically discredited condition in their reports.
By Chris Gelardi

Citing a New York Focus report, state Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas introduced a bill last week that would effectively ban public agencies from referencing a largely debunked medical syndrome long used to justify deaths in police custody.

Authorities have cited the ailment, known as “excited delirium syndrome,” in some of the country’s highest-profile police killings in recent years, including those of George Floyd and Elijah McClain. While the medical establishment has rejected the syndrome as too vague to be scientifically sound, some departments, including the New York City Police Department, still teach cops to look for it. In December, New York Focus revealed that the NYPD trains recruits on broad criteria to spot excited delirium — and subdue supposed sufferers with stun guns and pepper spray.

New York Focus is visiting Syracuse, where we’re partnering with Central Current to host a conversation with residents about local media. We want to hear from you! Join us on April 2nd.


In Case You Missed it

Governor Kathy Hochul and Budget Director Blake Washington highlighted Hochul's budget proposals on January 16, 2024. Photo: Mike Groll / Office of Governor Kathy Hochul | Illustration: Maia Hibbett
We read the governor’s, Senate’s, and Assembly’s budget proposals — so you don’t have to.
By New York Focus

Is New York about to slash school budgets? Cut Medicaid spending? Close prisons? The next few weeks will determine this and much more.

Between now and April 1, New York’s lawmakers will negotiate how to spend the state’s billions. They may or may not hit their April Fool’s Day budget deadline. Along with allocating state funding, they have to sort out a host of contentious policy issues, from health care workers’ wages to tenants’ rights. A key question, of course, is how much it will cost to run the state: Governor Kathy Hochul proposed total spending of $233 billion, while the Assembly and Senate want to go up to $246 billion.

They do agree on some things: providing billions to manage the influx of asylum seekers, for example, and overhauling the way kids learn to read. But in many areas, they differ sharply, like on what defines a hate crime and how much to spend on clean water projects. The answers depend on how the looming negotiations go.


Copyright © New York Focus 2023, All rights reserved.
Staying Focused is compiled and written by Alex Arriaga
Contact Alex at

Feedback? Tips? Pitches? Contact us at:

Support our work!

Interested in sponsoring these emails? Get in touch! Email

This email was sent to *|EMAIL|*

unsubscribe from this list  ·  update subscription preferences