DN: Potential Repeal of Obamacare Bodes Ill for NYS' Budget

Donald Trump's Vowed Repeal of Obamacare Bodes Ill for New York State's Budget
BY Kenneth Lovett NY Daily News November 28, 2016

ALBANY — President-elect Donald Trump’s vow to repeal "Obamacare" could blow a huge hole in the state’s budget, experts say.

Depending on exactly what changes are implemented and how quickly, New York could be looking at a loss of $3.5 billion in federal health care money, said Bill Hammond, director of health policy at the Empire Center for Public Policy.

“A lot of this will depend on how much of a hard-ass President Trump will be,” Hammond said.

The hits will come from two key areas, Hammond and others say. In one, a provision of the Affordable Care Act provides massive federal funding to states that expand their Medicaid eligibility up to 138% of the poverty level. New York benefitted from the policy more than all but one other state, Hammond said.

New York is also one of just two states that took advantage of an Obamacare option that allows states to offer low-cost coverage — with the feds picking up the bulk of the expense — to people who fall between 138% and 200% of the poverty level.

Gov. Cuomo, who will submit his state budget proposal in January, addressed the potential loss of federal health care dollars when recently discussing with donors some of the problems New York could be facing once Trump takes office.

State Health Department spokesman James Plastiras said since the program’s start three years ago, New York has enrolled more than 3 million people in health care coverage and significantly reduced the number of uninsured people by nearly 850,000.

Plastiras said the Health Department “will review details of the incoming administration’s policies regarding health insurance.”

“In the interim, we will continue to focus on ensuring that all New Yorkers have the best possible health care and insurance options,” he said.