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RENSSELAER COUNTY
OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE
NED PATTISON GOVERNMENT CENTER
TROY, NEW YORK 12180

Kathleen M. Jimino, County Executive
Phone: (518) 270-2900    Fax:     (518) 270-2961

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2003
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JIMINO AND KELLEHER ANNOUNCE AVAILABILITY OF “MEDICAID FACTS”

 

TROY - Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen M. Jimino and Chairman of the Legislature Neil J. Kelleher announce that a ten point list, entitled "Medicaid Facts," is available for distribution to individuals and groups that are interested in the impact the wide sweeping Medicaid program is having on Rensselaer County, particularly its local property taxpayers.

 

"I am confident that when Rensselaer County residents read this list, they will have a clearer understanding of the dilemma they are in as taxpayers," said County Executive Jimino.  "Medicaid is by far the most expensive mandated program in the County, and for that matter the Country.  There is no argument that it provides valuable services, but the problem remains that the local mandated cost to County taxpayers for this program threatens to minimize the quality of other valuable services that the County provides, and in some instances even threatens the delivery of the services themselves.  As we deliberate during the county budget season, the local cost for Medicaid continues to be nearly equal to the property taxes collected."

 

Chairman Kelleher stated, “There is no question the biggest problem facing Rensselaer County is the issue of Medicaid spending.  The Medicaid programs the feds and state force the County to provide are literally eating up the County budget and creating enormous problems.”

 

“If we do not get the Medicaid problem under control, every county in New York State will face huge financial problems, and that is bad news for taxpayers,” added Kelleher.

 

“This is a crisis for counties.  Without reform, the problem will only grow and needed county services and our financial stability will be threatened,” said Vice Chairwoman for Finance Margaret VanDeusen.

 

 

The list of Medicaid Facts includes:

 

1.      Nationally, Medicaid is larger than Medicare in terms of dollars spent and people served.

 

2.      In New York State, spending on Medicaid is closing in on spending on education.

 

3.      New York’s Medicaid spending is bigger than California and Texas combined.

 

4.      Putting even more financial pressure on our counties and our taxpayers, New York State is currently spending $20 million to fund the new facilitated enrollment initiative. Combining this program with the state’s expansion of Medicaid has resulted in a 39% increase in the number of those eligible for Medicaid, family health plus and child health plus programs thus far.  

 

5.      New York is one of only 20 states that require their counties to pay a share of the cost of Medicaid.

 

6.      Of the 20 states that mandate that their counties participate to help finance Medicaid, New York requires the largest share from their counties…one half of the state bill for most services.

 

7.      In Rensselaer County, projected 2004 estimates indicate that our share of our Medicaid bill has nearly doubled since 1995.

 

8.      Currently, Rensselaer County’s tax collections are approximately $33 million, with Medicaid costs next year estimated to be nearly $34 million.

 

9.      All counties of New York, including Rensselaer County, have absolutely no say whatsoever in the services offered to those eligible, nor rates charged.

 

10. With Medicaid being the biggest expense by far, Rensselaer County residents pay 84 cents of every local county tax dollar toward mandated programs, leaving 16 cents for such things as the maintenance and patrolling of our roadways as well as the operation of veteran and senior programs.     

 

Jimino concluded her remarks by urging, "Anyone who is interested in copies of 'Medicaid Facts' for themselves, others, or community groups, can call 270-2900, or stop by the County Office Building at 1600 7th Avenue in Troy.”

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