Assemblyman Jones: North Country Taxpayers Can’t Afford to Pay a Greater Share of Medicaid Costs

January 9, 2020

Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Plattsburgh) announced that he does not support potential plans to cut state spending on local governments’ growing Medicaid expenses. This comes after the governor delivered his State of the State address on Wednesday, in which he alluded to the idea of restructuring the Medicaid program to shift rising costs onto counties, rather than the state, to help close this year’s budget deficit.

“North Country families already have enough bills on their plate and shouldn’t be forced to bear even more of the state’s burden,” Jones said. “While I understand closing the budget deficit is a challenge, it’s simply not right to do this in a way that hurts our local governments and taxpayers in the process. We owe it to New Yorkers to be transparent in our decision-making, which is why I’ll do everything in my power to fight against this misguided change if the governor tries to bring it to fruition.”

Since 2015, the state has covered all increases in its counties’ share of Medicaid costs,[1] while local governments have continued to administer the programs. In his State of the State address, the governor partially blamed the $6.1 billion budget deficit on the state’s Medicaid spending and suggested reviving the Medicaid Redesign Team to study ways to reduce costs and restructure the program.[2]

The governor’s remarks put the future of this critical funding in question and raised concern among state lawmakers, including Jones, who countered that cutting the $4 billion in state Medicaid spending would unfairly push costs onto local taxpayers.[3]

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[1] cbcny.org/research/still-poor-way-pay-medicaid

[2] auburnpub.com/blogs/eye_on_ny/cuomo-eyes-medicaid-to-slash-ny-s-billion-budget-deficit/article_09ca654a-ee92-5b0e-80ce-618efce01914.html

[3] Ibid.