Cuomo threatens to reject $6.7B in federal aid in favor of Medicaid redesign

Andrew Cuomo. | AP photo

ALBANIA – Despite a $ 6 billion budget gap and new revenue losses from the outbreak of the New York corona virus, Governor Andrew Cuomo threatens to forego more than $ 6 billion in state aid that would force him to redesign his strategy Adjust Medicaid.

The governor this week repeated that he will not accept The $ 6.7 billion FMAP (Enhanced Medicaid Matching Rate) approved earlier this month would prevent him from changing the state’s Medicaid program proposed in his executive budget.


“No, [New York’s congressional delegation] I never fixed this bill, ”he told reporters when he left a press conference on Thursday. “You never fixed it. They said they would, they never did. “

State budget officials, however, have suggested that New York “will use part of these FMAP dollars to otherwise change, delay, or round off the proposed changes to its Medicaid program,” while “providing a solution to the legislation related to the Implementation of “aims [Medicaid Redesign Team] Reforms. “

Cuomo planned to close its budget gap in 2021, mainly due to Medicaid spending, by adjusting the local portion paid by New York City and counties and adopting Medicaid Redesign Team II recommendations.

Without such Medicaid changes, Cuomo said New York would not be able to adopt Tuesday’s budget for the 2021 fiscal year.

He doubled that position on Friday, notifying Alan Chartock of WAMC that New York, with its adopted amendments, which are not yet in effect and must first be approved by law, are not eligible for the funds.

“Not only did this state get a blow on this bill, but we didn’t even qualify in the previous bill, which provided $ 6 billion to the State of New York in Medicaid funds, because it was a provision included in the bill you have I can’t make any changes to your Medicaid program, ”he said.

The federal package that President Donald Trump included in the law on March 18 provides $ 6.7 billion in percentages for federal medical assistance to New York. That amount included $ 5.3 billion for the state, $ 1 billion for New York City, and $ 436 million for counties, the Senate majority leader said Chuck Schumer‘s office.

However, the state budget department estimates that the increased FMAP rate would only amount to $ 3.4 billion a year, spokesman Freeman Klopott said.

“I can’t speak to their numbers,” he said when asked about the discrepancy.

Local officials have asked Cuomo to accept the increased FMAP dollars and found that they cannot withdraw their stake in the funding without the governor’s approval.

“The governor has to weigh it up. Is it in the state’s best interest to get $ 6.7 billion compared to what he had planned to reform the Medicaid program?” Stephen Acquario, executive director of the New York State Association of Counties, told POLITICO. “The MRI should reach $ 2.5 billion. He has to make a political decision: is it in the best interest? Or is it in the best interest of the state to accept the money and postpone MRI II until the Covid 19 crisis is over? ”

Robert Mujica, Cuomo’s budget director, MRI members said on March 19 that the state intended to use part of the federal expanded Medicaid Matching Rate dollar received under the Congress spending package to “mitigate the borders” and delay some of the panel’s recommendations related to the outbreak of the coronavirus should not be implemented immediately.

“We will use the FMAP dollars to mitigate the limits of these recommendations, delay the recommendations, but if we get to the other side, we want a Medicaid program that actually works,” said Klopott this week. “And these recommendations help inform how we are driving the Medicaid program beyond the one-time income that we may receive from the federal government.”

The MRI II Has suggested A redefined Medicaid global cap, a 60-month review period for home and community care use, and increased general reductions, among others.

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