County leaders across NY appeal to Schumer to stop $625 million Medicaid cost shift

Posted 22 March 2023 at 4:31 pm

Press Release, New York State Association of Counties

This week, more than 50 county leaders from across New York State sent an unprecedented bi-partisan letter to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer.

The letter seeks his intervention to help protect New York renters, homeowners, and businesses from looming property tax increases that could result from the state budget proposal to intercept federal Medicaid funding.  (Editor’s Note: Orleans County Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson was among the county officials who signed the letter.)

At issue is the Governor’s proposal to end the decades-long practice of sharing federal Medicaid savings with counties and New York City. Instead of continuing to share this funding — $625 million in the next fiscal year, growing to $808 million by SFY 2027 — the State is proposing to put local governments in a difficult financial position, forcing service cuts or property tax increases, or both.

“Senator Schumer understands the history of why this federal funding was sent to New York State and to the counties: to help the state and local taxpayers. Our Senator fought hard to include this direct aid to counties in the Affordable Care Act and in COVID relief legislation,” said NYSAC President Michael E. Zurlo.

Through a combination of federal funding and local tax dollars, New York’s 57 counties and New York City pay $7.6 billion toward the state’s Medicaid program, more than the combined contributions of the other 3,000 counties across the United States.

Senator Schumer was instrumental in including the Medicaid funding language in the Affordable Care Act and later in the federal Covid bill that increased Medicaid assistance for states and local governments who contribute to the program.

“We strongly believe that it is Congress’ intent these funds be shared with the counties and New York City on a continuous basis because we pay such a large share of the costs of the state and federal Medicaid program,” the leaders said in a letter to Senator Schumer.

The letter, signed or supported by all 57 chief elected county officials, called on Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer to intervene in this state-local dispute to “clarify congressional intent for sharing these funds with counties.”