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Chemung County Efforts To Increase Local Medicaid Funding

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli joined county officials from across New York State in commending Senator Charles Schumer's efforts to secure Federal Medicaid funding to New York counties. Senator Schumer has been instrumental in ensuring that the stimulus package currently being negotiated by Congress includes increased federal Medicaid matching funds, known as Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP).

The FMAP will be directed to the State and counties, which share the cost of Medicaid in New York State. New York is one of only 11 states in the country who pay a local share of the states Medicaid program. Santulli, who also serves as President-Elect of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC), applauds Senator Schumer's support of local governments who administer the Medicaid program.

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"During this difficult economic downturn, with New York counties being faced with decreased State funding, and certain sales tax revenue shortfalls, this assistance in the way of increased Medicaid funding will help us to serve those most in need without increasing the tax burden of our property owners," said Santulli. "As the economy struggles we can expect an increased demand for health care. Medicaid is the single largest mandated program in our County budget accounting for 74% of the total property tax levy. Senator Schumer's efforts to provide direct fiscal aid from FMAP at the local level will help to ease us through these tough times."

NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario said, "While the Federal relief is welcome by all levels of government, we have to remember that these funds are temporary. We need this shot in the arm, but this shot in the arm does not negate the need to address long term budget deficits and state spending habits that do not reflect actual revenues."

Senator Schumer is a member of the Senate Leadership and the Finance Committee which has jurisdiction over the Medicaid program. The economic stimulus package, which is projected to be between $800 billion to $1 trillion, could be completed by the Senate and House of Representatives, and be ready for President Barack Obama's signature by the middle of February.