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Cuomo threatens lawsuit over GOP-proposed Medicaid shift

House Speaker Paul Ryan walks to his office

House Speaker Paul Ryan walks to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 23, 2017. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has threatened to sue if a Ryan-backed health care bill flips Medicaid financing in New York to the state from the counties. Credit: AP / J. Scott Applewhite


Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo threatened Thursday to sue if the Republican-controlled Congress adopts a federal health care bill that includes a provision to shift New York’s Medicaid costs from its counties to state government.

Cuomo, speaking as the House weighed whether to vote on the bill late Thursday, contended the provision was unconstitutional because it singled out New York without “evidence of a federal objective.” In short, he said the New York provision was inserted to win the support of upstate and Long Island Republicans while serving no other federal purpose.

“This is illegal,” the Democrat said in a conference call.

Though President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) were pressing for a vote Thursday, it wasn’t clear if that was going to happen because not enough Republicans had agreed to vote yes to win passage of the American Health Care Act, a bill that would begin the process of repealing Obamacare.

The Medicaid shift – a $2.3 billion change that New York counties have long championed – wouldn’t become effective until 2020. Still, with Cuomo and state legislators facing a state budget deadline in 8 days, the governor said the health-care debate “added an uncertainty and chaos to the state’s finances that makes doing the budget much more difficult.”

Asked if passage of the federal bill might trigger a late state budget, Cuomo said: “If you don’t know the immediate financial future, it’s hard to do” a state budget. Then, he added: “Not late. You have to have a budget.”


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