Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio and State Legislators Demand Federal Approval of New York's $10 Billion Medicaid Waiver

The waiver request would allow the State to reinvest significant Medicaid savings toward transforming New York’s healthcare delivery system.

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Albany, NY - January 27, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and legislators from the State demanded that the federal government approve New York State’s $10 billion Medicaid waiver. The waiver request, which was originally submitted in 2012, would allow the State to reinvest significant Medicaid savings toward transforming New York’s healthcare delivery system with a focus on primary and preventative care while also minimizing unnecessary hospital admission. After Governor Cuomo raised the issue of the long overdue waiver in his Executive Budget address last week, the State received a letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) which failed to give approval to New York’s application.
“For 18 months, New Yorkers have been waiting on the federal government for one clear statement: your $10 billion Medicaid waiver is approved,” Governor Cuomo said. “While other states were given approval in just a few months, New York is still waiting and hospitals in Brooklyn will close if we wait any longer. This is an issue Mayor de Blasio brought into focus during his campaign and I am pleased to have him join us and the Brooklyn delegation in the fight to save our hospitals.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “We are doing everything in our power to protect health care in neighborhoods across New York City, but we need the federal government to help. The billions of dollars rightly sought by Governor Cuomo would jumpstart the transformation of our safety-net hospitals, and bring them into the 21st century. New York City stands with Governor Cuomo and State Legislators in urging our federal partner to make this critical investment to protect community health care.”
Under Governor Cuomo, New York State’s healthcare system has gone from a symbol of waste to a model of reform. With a focus on innovation and efficiency, the Governor’s Medicaid Redesign Team identified savings of $34 billion in New York’s Medicaid system while also managing to add 500,000 people to the program. With the federal government’s approval, New York State would be able to reinvest its portion of these savings toward improvements in the state’s healthcare delivery system.
New York State has been supporting Brooklyn’s ailing healthcare delivery system for more than a year while the federal government has been reviewing the waiver application. Approval of the waiver by HHS is critical to transforming health care in communities across New York City.
Approval of the Medicaid waiver would further the State’s efforts to transform various hospitals into financially sustainable institutions focused on primary and preventative care. This would ensure both the long-term viability of these key community institutions and protect vital healthcare services for residents and communities across the State.
Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, Dean of the Brooklyn Delegation of the New York State Legislature said, "I am pleased to join with Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill De Blasio in unified support for saving Brooklyn's hospitals. The health system of Brooklyn cannot be allowed to collapse. We must work to restore Brooklyn's hospitals and health care system back to its own fiscal fitness and move it forward so that Brooklyn boasts a creative and vital health care system for its residents."