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Federal Medicaid Proposal Could Help New York Rein In Costs, Expert Says

Rogelio V. Solis

A new Trump administration proposal would allow states to cap Medicaid spending. Some healthcare policy experts say it might help New York cut its $6 billion budget deficit.

Policy expert Walter Markowitz says New York should at least consider opting in to the federal rule change. He’s a professor of health professions at Hofstra University.

“You have a target. You can’t spend more than X amount of dollars for every one of your Medicaid recipients. However, if you spend less: us – the federal government – and you – the state – can share in those savings.”

The Trump proposal allows states to reduce whatever benefits Affordable Care Act enrollees receive, like certain drugs and dental care.

But the federal government would no longer match state Medicaid spending. The state would have to predetermine its spending.

“Here’s the amount of money. You should have enough money to take care of your patients. Don’t come back and ask us for more.”

Democrats, consumer groups and health care providers say changes to Medicaid would give states — “red states” — too much power to decide who would be covered and receive medical care.

“So the fear is the federal government is going to set an amount that is not going to cover Medicaid costs in those states that have high Medicaid expenditures, like New York.”

Changes to Medicaid would be voluntary for states.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.