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Organizers of Buffalo's Pride parade deny Gov. Kathy Hochul's request to attend

Buffalo Pride parade organizers say they don't want Hochul to attend
Buffalo Pride parade organizers say they don't want Hochul to attend 02:38

Editor's Note:  A previous version of this report named the wrong organization in Harlem. The story has been updated with the correct name.

NEW YORK -- Gov. Kathy Hochul is facing scrutiny and pushback from the LGBTQ community just days before her 2024 budget is to be implemented.

The organizers of Buffalo's Pride parade on June 4 have declined her request to attend.

The decision is related to the governor's state budget proposal and a carve-out in health care spending left over from the Cuomo administration that the LGBTQ community believes will make access to quality care more difficult.

The organizers of the Pride parade say Hochul's plan to redirect funds generated by federal drug pricing program 340B directly impacts their community. The 340B program requires pharmaceutical companies that do business with Medicaid to provide discounts for hospitals and clinics, like Evergreen Health, with patients using discounted care as a safety net.

"Anybody that predominantly serves the safety net population, they are 100% ripping the rug out from underneath us," said Mike Lee, COO of Evergreen Health.

Evergreen Health co-signed the letter to Hochul informing her she wasn't invited to the parade. Evergreen and Heritage Health and Housing are suing the New York State Department of Health. Under 340B, providers buy medication at discounted prices but are reimbursed for the full price by the federal government. The extra money is used for services. But in Hochul's proposed budget, which is still under negotiation, those facilities would use a new benefit plan that they say will mean a loss of services for many in need.

"If you're going to take critical resources from the LGBTQ population, then I don't think that you should be able to come and also take pictures with us in June to celebrate Pride, when you're, behind the scenes, advancing a policy that rips all of the services away from that population," Lee said.

Groups publicly supporting the decision in Buffalo include Housing Works and the Callen Lorde Community Health Center. CBS2 reached out to New York's City's Pride parade organizers and were told they have not made a decision about whether they will follow Buffalo's lead and disinvite the governor.

A spokesperson for Hochul said the governor has been a steadfast supporter of LGBTQ rights and has the record to back it up. Her office also said the 340B program is not being eliminated, and that providers will still have access to reduced drug prices and will be reimbursed for them. 

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