Medicaid Cuts Are Latest Calculated Attack on New York State — Follows TTP Ban, Refusal to Allow Congestion Pricing to Fund MTA, Failure to Support Second Ave. Subway or Gateway Tunnel, Cap on SALT, Failure to Manage Lake Ontario Flooding, Denial of FEMA Support Following Halloween Storm
Governor Cuomo: "If there's one area that you'd think should be beyond politics, it's healthcare. And what the federal government is doing is hurting Democrats and Republicans, it's not whether you're blue or you're red. These are needy New Yorkers, they're primarily senior citizens, who are hurt. And we fought all of these cuts all along, but we're going to fight this cut. I'm going to contact our congressional delegation. We're going to marshal all our allies because it's unconscionable. There has to be a place where you doing play politics. It has to end somewhere. It should end at healthcare... Why you would want to play politics with someone's healthcare is just beyond me. They have no limits whatsoever.
Governor Cuomo: "There is no political benefit for me to help New York because it is a blue state and we can't win it. They demonstrated that right out of the box when they did the SALT tax provision. It took money from the blue states and transferred it to the red states. How can you do that? Because they are blue states. That is why, because they are blue states and they are not going to support us. We are not going to win. So we are going to give it to the red states because that is our team. We are on the red team. And you can go right through all of these things and it is the same point."
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today delivered remarks on the federal government's $8 billion cut to New York's healthcare system. This cut is the Trump Administration's latest attack on New York State.
AUDIO of the remarks is available here.
PHOTOS of today's press conference will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is below:
Good afternoon, I think everybody knows the people here.
To my far right is Beth Garvey, Special Counsel. To my immediate right is Robert Mujica, Division of the Budget, Director of the Budget Division. Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor. Kevin Bruen, First Deputy Superintendent of the New York State Police.
We have bad news and good news today. Bad news first, the federal government on last Friday notified us that they were cancelling what is called the DSRIP funding, healthcare funding to the State of New York which we had previously been granted in 2014. For those of you who weren't here in 2014, we won a big federal grant which allowed us to transition our healthcare services from primarily hospital driven, which is very intensive and very expensive, to more of a community based healthcare system. And the grant was for $8 billion dollars.
We had worked very hard to win the grant. We had a great celebration when we won the grant. We actually had a celebration ceremony with a lot of elected officials in the City. Mayor De Blasio attended. So it was a very big deal for the State. And Friday they announced they are cancelling that grant to New York. It costs us about $600 million dollars this year and that is basically through the Medicaid program.
In and of itself, it is very counterproductive and hurtful to this State, but when you view it in the series that are going on it is even more disturbing. Because this is not just the federal government takes an isolated action that is hurting the State. There is continued pattern and series of these actions. Connect the dots and you see the line.
We get a letter the last week before, the federal department of FEMA says they are not going to reimburse for the floods in the Mohawk Valley during Halloween. Three hundred homeowners who were wiped out by the floods, FEMA won't reimburse. The federal government has not approved our congestion pricing plan for the MTA in New York City. This is a revolutionary-type idea. Other cities, other states are watching how congestion pricing works. It was debated for years in this state. We got it passed. The federal approval, frankly, we just assumed it was going to be almost pro-forma. They're now using that opportunity to stop congestion pricing. This is despite the fact that the MTA has had over 12 meetings with them to try to jump every possible obstacle they came up with. They haven't funded the 2nd Avenue subway, which would go from 96th to 125th Street. They haven't approved the offshore wind turbine program that we've announced, the leading one in the nation. They've done absolutely nothing with the International Joint Commission, the IJC, on the continual flooding in Lake Ontario. This is on top of what they did right out of the box with the SALT tax, which ended the deductibility of state and local taxes, increased the amount we pay in taxes to the federal government by about $15 billion - dot, dot, dot, dot.
This healthcare denial is really obnoxious, you know. If there's one area that you'd think should be beyond politics, it's healthcare. And what the federal government is doing is hurting Democrats and Republicans, it's not whether you're blue or you're red. These are needy New Yorkers, they're primarily senior citizens, who are hurt. And we fought all of these cuts all along, but we're going to fight this cut. I'm going to contact our congressional delegation. We're going to marshal all our allies because it's unconscionable. There has to be a place where you doing play politics. It has to end somewhere. It should end at healthcare. We all say healthcare is a human right, we're up to 96 percent healthcare coverage in this state, which is a great accomplishment. And why you would want to play politics with someone's healthcare is just beyond me. They have no limits whatsoever.
In that list of federal horribles, what they're doing with ending our participation in the Trusted Traveler Program is also pure politics. I told them I will give them the DMV data for people in the Trusted Traveler Program. They can have it. They don't want it. They want to be able to use our DMV database for immigration purposes, which we say they can't and I will never agree to. To pressure us, to extort us to get us to allow them to use the DMV database for ICE and Customs and Border Patrol they are deliberately holding hostage New Yorkers who have nothing to do with anything. 200,000 people in the Trusted Traveler Program. To be a part of the Trusted Traveler Program you have to go sit with a federal official, show them your documentation, have an interview, be approved by them. What does that have to do with whether or not they have access to DMV database? Nothing. They stopped a program where New York companies export vehicles to other countries, because they say they need access to the DMV database to somehow verify the title of the vehicles. I said I'll give it to you. They won't allow those companies to do business. This is just hostage taking, pressure extortion to get us to turn over the DMV database, which I never will.
In a matter of fact, I'm going to go in the exact opposite direction. I want additional precautions to make sure that DMV database is not misused, because by the way our DMV database is shared nationwide with law enforcement agencies. When you get pulled over in Texas, they pull up your license they're accessing the New York database. Somebody gets pulled over in our state from out of state we access their license. So, we're exploring increasing the penalties for misuse of the database, and we're exploring having DMV just delete social security numbers from the database in the cases that they don't need them. The social security number is a proxy for whether or not you're a citizen, right? If you're not a citizen, you don't have a social security number, and that's why the social security numbers are important.
So, that is also going on, so dot, dot, dot, dot. The good news is revenues are up. That's a function of the financial market and the success of the financial market thus far. If we're talking dots this way, the financial market is dots this way, especially today. But, the revenues are up roughly in the magnitude of about $700 million this year, the process is now we have a consensus forecast committee where the houses and the executive get together and try to figure out an agreed-to number for the additional revenues. But with the additional revenues, you know this economy, I was at the National Governors' Association couple of weekends ago, and they had a session on when do you think the recession happens? The premise was there's going to be a recession, the only question is when. And they went around the room and all the experts, "Is it this year - is it next year?" But the economy is fluid - market is down something like a thousand points today.
A lot of what we're seeing is revenue from the financial markets and Wall Street and bonuses, so that all has to be taken with a grain of salt, and we'll talk about that during the forecast committees, but that is good news. It's better than the revenues going down. Now, one doesn't have anything to do with the other, and the cut on the healthcare program is $600 million this year, but it was, as a grant, it continued for years, and that has also been stopped, so it's devastating to hospitals that were counting on it, and there were a number of hospitals that were actually anticipating these funds, and Rob can give you the list of hospitals if you're interested, but let me stop there and take any questions.
There is no political benefit for me to help New York because it is a blue state and we can't win it. They demonstrated that right out of the box when they did the SALT tax provision. It took money from the blue states and transferred it to the red states. How can you do that? Because they are blue states. That is why, because they are blue states and they are not going to support us. We are not going to win. So we are going to give it to the red states because that is our team. We are on the red team. And you can go right through all of these things and it is the same point. Why won't you approve congestion pricing? Doesn't cost the federal government a penny. Why wouldn't you approve it? Well, it is New York. It is a blue state. Why wouldn't you approve the offshore wind on Long Island - a nation leading program? Well it's a blue state. Why don't you approve the Second Avenue Subway? Every other past administration did. Democrats and Republicans all paid and passed phases of the Second Avenue Subway. Because you are a blue state. Why wouldn't you approve the FEMA funding for victims of a flood? Because you are a blue state. Why does President Trump say I am moving from New York to Florida? Because Florid is in play politically and New York isn't, and now he can say I am a Floridian. Vote for me for President, I am a Florida resident. I'll be good for you.
It is always politics. I meet them. They take my phone call. We have discussions. The MTA has met with them dozens of times. WE have not gotten the AirTrain to LaGuardia approved. Port Authority meets with them dozens of times. It is not personal. It is political. I have never seen politics top this extreme. I have never seen government run through a self-serving political lens like this. But that is what it is. My point is that at one point it has to stop. And the line in the sand has to be healthcare.