Senate may vote next week on Medicaid amendment

Published Jul 15, 2017 at 4:00pm

A provision that would require New York state to assume the county share of Medicaid by 2020 remains in the reworked health bill that the U.S. Senate may vote on next week.

The state government would be faced with $2.3 billion in new expenses should this measure be enacted.

With that in mind, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo adamantly opposes the cost shift. On the other hand, Oneida County’s weekly payment to the state for the health program for the poor and disabled is about $1 million.

On an annual basis, the county pays out the equivalent of more than 75 percent of the tax levy for Medicaid.

The provision, authored by two New York congressmen, Republicans John Faso of Kinderhook and Chris Collins of western New York, is a carryover from the House of Representatives’ American Health Care Act. Oneida County Rep. Claudia L. Tenney, R-24, New Hartford, is a staunch supporter of the measure. She says if the provision is approved, there is enough time for the state to cut from its budget before there’s a cost shift in 2020.

Cuomo has called the Medicaid provision “reckless” and said it would lead to “devastating cuts to our hospitals, nursing homes and home care providers.”

Most states split Medicaid costs with the federal government without pushing some of the burden onto counties.

Senate GOP released their revised health care bill on Thursday, making changes intended to woo reluctant Republicans on both the center and the right of the party’s ideological spectrum. It is unclear if there will be enough support from GOP senators for the bill to pass.