Counties back legislature's action on Medicaid

Mar. 15—The New York State Association of Counties issued a statement Tuesday, applauding the state Senate and Assembly for rejecting Gov. Kathy Hochul's proposal to shift $625 million in new costs to counties for the state's Medicaid program from their one-house budget plans.

"At a time when we are all focused on making New York more affordable and responsive to the needs of our residents, the last thing we need is to raise costs for homeowners, renters, and businesses across the state," a NYSAC media release said. "As state leaders embark on negotiating final terms for the 2024 State Fiscal Year (SFY) Budget, we encourage them to completely remove this proposal from consideration."

According to the release, "New York's counties are in the unenviable position of being mandated by the state to contribute more to their state's Medicaid program than the rest of our nation's 3,000 counties combined." The state made progress on the problem, first in 2005, and again in 2015 when it capped the local share of Medicaid, the release said. "These caps were critical to stop the bleeding and enabled the vast majority of our counties to hold yearly property tax increases below 2 percent in recent years. We can't afford to go back," the release said.

The state has assumed the growth of the Medicaid expenses since 2015 and this has substantially helped relieve the local tax burden, the release said, adding, "But it is worth noting that the counties of New York have contributed $132 billion since 2005 to offset the state's Medicaid program and leverage the federal Medicaid match."

Hochul's proposal would add another $6.75 billion to the county and New York City Medicaid bill over the next decade, NYSAC said, on top of the $76 billion that counties are slated to pay under the current cap, for a total of $82.75 billion in local tax dollars over the next ten years.