New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday increased the pressure on the federal government to act on the state’s request for a $10 billion Medicaid waiver, joining Gov. Andrew Cuomo to highlight the plight of hospitals in Brooklyn and across the state.
De Blasio and Cuomo said the federal government needs to act on the request by the end of February to ease financial pressure on the state’s fiscally troubled hospitals, including several in New York City’s outer boroughs.
“We are united in our plea to the federal government to do the right thing for New York, to do the right thing for Brooklyn, to give us this waiver so we can secure in the long term,” de Blasio said. “This waiver is meant specifically for this type of transportation, and we need it and it’s the right thing to do.”
The Cuomo administration in 2012 first put together its waiver request to the federal government. If granted, New York would be allowed to keep $10 billion it has saved the federal government through reforming its Medicaid program and re-invest it in the state’s health care system.
Cuomo attempted to push the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the issue during his budget address last week, with Health Commissioner Nirav Shah arguing that hospitals could close in New York if the request isn’t approved.
The next day, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius penned a letter to Cuomo, signaling a resolution could be near. She invited Cuomo’s team to meet with her office in Washington.
“As I believe you know, our teams have been making good progress towards an overall agreement,” Sibelius wrote. “We have begun drafting the terms of a potential agreement, which is a final step in the process, but one that requires careful and close attention as it outlines the specifics of the demonstration and the authorized use of the funds.”
Cuomo’s 2014-15 budget proposal doesn’t include money from the waiver. If approved, the budget proposal would grow by more than $2 billion, from $137.2 billion to $139.9 billion.
Here’s the letter from Sibelius to Cuomo: