BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Congressman Chris Collins is shifting his focus to Medicaid.
Collins say New York State ranks second highest in the nation when it comes to Medicaid spending. He’s proposing an amendment to the American Health Care Act that would block federal reimbursements for state Medicaid funds raised from local governments.
New York currently raises $7 billion from its counties to fund its $27 billion Medicaid Debt.
“How is it that Albany decides the entire makeup of the Medicaid we offer in New York which is far more away than any state in the nation and it forces the county to pick up the bill, that’s not right,” said Congressman Collins.
Collins says counties pay about 13 percent of the cost of Medicaid in New York state. Instead of the counties footing the bill, the proposal would require states to pick up the Medicaid tab.
Collins told News 4 his amendment would apply to the $2.3 billion being raised from counties outside New York City.
Erie County and Niagara County republican officials are backing Collins’ proposal. They say the money could improve western New York and bring huge relief to the budget and taxpayers.
“A majority of that would be returned to the people that pay the bill in the first place, taxpayers. Some of those resources could also be used to repair our crumbling infrastructure,” said Stefan Mychajliw, Erie County Comptroller.
Collins says New York accounts for six percent of the country’s population, but accounts for 11 percent of the country’s medicaid spending. His proposal is not currently in the legislation that the house is expected to vote on this week.
Lieutenant Governon Kathy Hochol said in a statement:
“New York Republican Congressman, Chris Collins is offering an amendment that would wreak havoc on the state. While I understand that the Democrats in Washington are attacking Collins on ethics issues and are having a heated political fight, they shouldn’t be played out at the expense of everyday New Yorkers. New Yorkers will be at risk of losing their healthcare, hospitals will be forced to lay off workers, and our vulnerable elderly will find it much harder to afford nursing home care. Rep. Collins’ amendment and the Affordable Care Act repeal would transfer $4.7 billion in costs to the state which would translate into a new tax for New Yorkers. I know firsthand that the people of the 27th Congressional District face enough challenges in their lives – they don’t need to worry about increasing health care costs or new taxes”