Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell is speaking out against New York Governor's proposed Medicaid funding changes. She is concerned about the impact on residents.
Governor Cuomo wants the state’s 62 counties to contribute an additional $150 million to pay for Medicaid’s skyrocketing costs. The counties enroll Medicaid recipients, but don’t set the eligibility guidelines.
Odell says Putnam County will always make sure the most vulnerable citizens get the services they need, but will have to make other cuts to the budget because of it. In Putnam County, Medicaid costs have risen by $4 million from 2018 to 2019.
Before 2015 in Putnam County, about 5,000 residents were enrolled in Medicaid. By July, 2019 the county had 13,000 Medicaid recipients.
In 2012, to help counties and local governments adhere to the 2% property tax cap, Governor Cuomo and State Lawmakers enacted a zero growth Medicaid cap. Odell says the cap helped counties stabilize and, in several cases, reduce county property tax rate levies.
Odell says the State Assembly should close loopholes in eligibility guidelines. She notes that the Putnam County Department of Social Services brought in consultants a few years ago to flag suspected fraud. They found that some wealthy residents took out reverse mortgages on expensive homes, writing off investments as losses and hiding assets in untouchable retirement accounts in order to qualify for Medicaid. She wants that loophole closed.