Local government budgets are going to be hit hard by the resulting economic recession in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
And now the state budget is poised to return more costs of the Medicaid spending onto county governments.
The New York State Association of Counties on Wednesday made what amounts to a last-ditch push to avoid the changes in the budget.
“While counties recognize that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic will lower state and local revenues, now is not the time to cut vital local services like public health, healthcare, social services, mental health and public safety," said the association's president, John Marren.
"County leaders across the state are making one last request to state lawmakers to reject proposals that would undo local Medicaid caps and result in higher property taxes for struggling homeowners or cuts to vital local services."
Marren urged New York officials to take $6.7 billion in federal relief funding that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is turning away, because the law would block the Medicaid changes he is seeking.
"This is an opportunity for the state to accept this funding now, during this COVID-19 emergency, and then implement the Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT II) recommendations as soon as the emergency has passed, and the federal funding is no longer available," Marren said.
Cuomo has blasted the federal law for tying his hands on the Medicaid issue. The push to find savings under what's known as the Medicaid Redesign Team II started late last year amid a multi-billion dollar budget gap in Medicaid spending.
The Medicaid panel recommended last month a $400 million cut to hospitals. Cuomo has said health care facilities and hospitals have the funding they need to handle the influx of coronavirus patients.