Schumer: Feds grant $8B Medicaid waiver

Sen. Chuck Schumer, of New York, speeks at Sen. Chuck Schumer, of New York, speeks at the Center for American Progress (CAP) in Washington, DC on Jan. 23, 2014. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Saul Loeb

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Sen. Charles Schumer announced Thursday that New York will receive from the federal government $8 billion of the $10 billion waiver it had sought in Medicaid payments, which it said was needed for health care programs and to keep some hospitals open.

"It's not everything New York asked for, but it is a generous amount," Schumer said. "This large amount of money should help all of New York -- both upstate and downstate -- with both its budgetary challenges and hospital needs."

A waiver is funding the federal government provides to states to implement cost-saving measures.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Thursday morning that the state needed the waiver to avoid a "crisis" in the state health care system. The funds are needed to keep President Barack Obama's health care overhaul operating in New York and to keep hospitals open in Brooklyn and elsewhere, which Cuomo said have been in danger of immediate closings.

"While the state will be reviewing the terms and conditions of this agreement, it is clearly the biggest step forward towards a positive conclusion for our communities, particularly in Brooklyn," Cuomo said.

He said the federal action would allow $1 billion to flow to the Brooklyn health care network.

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The governor had said other hospitals around the state could have been threatened if the waiver wasn't granted.

Cuomo said the waiver was needed to enable New York to implement health care reforms aimed at lower state costs. He said it was important for the state's health care exchanges, which provide health insurance for New Yorkers without insurance or with too little insurance.

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