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In January, the State Legislature enacted a sweeping health care finance law that is unique in a number of respects: (1) It was not included in the State’s overall budget (which has yet to be enacted); (2) It enables the long-stalled conversion of Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield (Empire) into a for-profit entity; (3) It requires nearly all of the proceeds of such conversion to be contributed to the State budget for Medicaid; (4) It will increase Medicaid reimbursement for hospitals and other providers but with substantial strings attached, namely that such funds can only be used for employment and retention of nonsupervisory and/or direct patient care employees.

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