Millions in Health Care Exchange Funding At Stake

Health reform advocates are worried New York will lose out on federal funding if the state legislature does not act.
by | September 19, 2011
 

Health care reform advocates are worried New York will lose out on federal funding if the state legislature doesn't act, North County Public Radio reports.

States must set up health care exchanges by 2014, which is when the new federal heath care law requires all individuals to purchase health insurance. Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers had seemingly reached in agreement in June, but Republican Senate members backed out as part of a show of force against "Obamacare."

Tracey Brooks of Family Planning Advocates, which lobbies for Planned Parenthood, told NCPR that position is pure politics and represents a "sad state of affairs." The New York Times reports the state could lose $50 to $100 million if an agreement isn't reached by a Sept. 30 deadline.

Senate Republicans continue to show little willingness of compromise. A spokesman for senator majority leader Dean Skelos has rebuked calls by legislative Democrats to return to the state capital and negotiate on the health care exchanged, according to the Times.

A spokesman for Skelos also told NCPR his caucus is concerned New Yorkers could pay up to $3.75 billion in additional taxes if the exchange is implemented.

The Times notes, even if the state itself refuses to take action, the federal government would set up the health care exchange itself in 2013. But Republicans appear to prefer that option rather than appearing to endorse the new health care initiative.

"I would fight very vociferously to make sure that we're not seen as implementing and expediting Obamacare," state senator Gregory Ball told the Times.

The Affordable Health Care Act, estimated to provide 11.5 million people with insurance through the exchange program, has run aground in other states as well. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has announced his intention to reject all federal money related to the law. Kansas and Oklahoma have given back tens of millions of dollars in funding. And more than two dozen governors and attorneys general have sued to challenge its constitutionality.

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