Metzger opposes Medicaid cost shift to counties

State Sen. Jen Metzger says she won’t support Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to require counties to cover any annual Medicaid cost increases over 3 percent, an idea that could raise their Medicaid bills again after the state held them flat for several years by absorbing the higher costs.

“A Medicaid cost-shift to county and city governments is unacceptable and will burden already struggling working families with local taxes they cannot afford,” Metzger, a Rosendale Democrat, said in a statement this week. “I have communicated to the Senate Majority Leader my position that we reject any and all efforts to push the costs of growth in Medicaid programs onto counties.”

Cuomo put the proposal in his budget as part of his effort to temper increases in the state’s Medicaid spending. He also formed a panel to recommend how the state can close an immediate Medicaid budget gap of $2.5 billion.

County leaders have strongly protested removing the caps on their annual Medicaid spending, which were put in place to help them comply with the state’s 2 percent limit on property-tax increases. Both Orange and Sullivan counties already have proposed raising their sales tax rates to raise revenue for new state mandates, including the potential Medicaid hike.

The Senate and Assembly are developing their own budget proposals before negotiating with Cuomo a spending plan for the fiscal year that starts April 1.

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