Cuomo Takes on Obama Administration Over Medicaid Exemption

Image: Cuomo Takes on Obama Administration Over Medicaid Exemption

Thursday, 12 Dec 2013 09:40 AM

By Melanie Batley

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ratcheting up pressure on the Obama administration to get approval for a request that would allow his state to spend billions of dollars on Medicaid reform, using the resulting savings to fund public hospitals on the brink of financial collapse.

Cuomo spoke directly to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking her to exempt New York from some of Medicaid's rules and let the Empire State reinvest some of the $17 billion it says it can save the government through reforming its Medicaid system, The Washington Post reports.

The Democratic governor is reportedly frustrated that the request, which made over a year ago, has still not been granted.

HHS says, however, that it has been working with New York and is still waiting for answers to a list of questions it sent to Albany before it can take further action.

"We have been collaborating with New York on their waiver proposal to improve their Medicaid program. As part of that ongoing conversation, New York continues to provide additional details and technical clarifications to CMS," HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters told the Post.

"We support their goal of providing quality, affordable coverage to New Yorkers, and are working closely with them to make sure that any proposal is consistent with Medicaid law and that we are good stewards of federal dollars."

In addition to its application for the exemption, New York compiled 650 pages of letters from stakeholders supporting the request along with a letter from 26 members of Congress addressed to Sebelius in August 2012.

"This reinvestment is critical to sustaining structural, technological and organizational improvements in New York's healthcare system," the letter said, according to the Post.

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