Budget Increases Spending; Forces Burden of NYS Medicaid Program Onto Local Taxpayers
New City, NY, – County Executive Ed Day blasts Governor Kathy Hochul and complicit New York State lawmakers for shorting counties with plans to stop sharing federal Medicaid savings with local governments.
According to reports, New York State’s budget includes phasing out the Affordable Care Act (ACA) enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Program (eFMAP) funds over the next two years instead of all at once as initially proposed.
Zeroing out this federal aid over two years will require counties to pick up a larger share of the State’s Medicaid program, which is the second most-expensive Medicaid program in the country behind California, every year going forward.
“When Rockland had fiscal issues, we did what needed to be done to reduce costs which is what the State should be doing,” said County Executive Ed Day. “Instead, the budget grew from $227 billion to $229 billion while still eliminating millions in federal Medicaid reimbursements to local municipalities which has been shared since 2011.”
Elimination of this federal reimbursement will shift up to $280 million in new costs to the 57 counties. Once fully phased out, Rockland County will lose an estimated $9 million in funding reimbursements annually which is equivalent to a 5.5% County Property Tax increase.
“We share in the Governor’s goal to make New York more affordable but this proposal is doing the complete opposite by forcing local governments to pass these costs on to local taxpayers, currently coping with record-high inflation and skyrocketing gas prices, making that goal more difficult to achieve,” said County Executive Ed Day.
County Executive Day had previously met with Senators and New York State Assemblymembers representing Rockland residents in early 2023 to make them aware that this move is projected to shift billions in costs to local taxpayers.
“This bloated budget also increases the assigned counsel program rates to $158 per hour. While we support this initiative in general which ensures all families have access to effective representation in the criminal and family courts, we believe the state should fully cover the cost of their decision to raise these rates since they’re already eliminating eFMAP reimbursements to local municipalities. Instead, counties are being forced to cover 50% of this new cost further burdening local families. The lawmakers who voted yes on this budget essentially voted yes to increasing taxes on New York families, which are already struggling to make ends meet due to the dire state of our economy this last year,” concluded Day.