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Itís a cost that continually is increasing and it absorbs a large percentage of our property taxes that we take in.

New bill would relieve counties' Medicaid costs

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Under a bill introduced Monday, New York state would begin paying counties' Medicaid costs. Counties statewide could save 7.3 billion dollars. Right now, the low-income healthcare program gets half its money from the federal government; New York state pays 25%; and counties pay 25%. In St. Lawrence county, Medicaid costs the county almost 24 million dollars annually--about 34% of total spending on social services and the largest mandated expense from the state.

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Reported by

Nora Flaherty
Digital Editor, News

County Public Health director Sue Hathaway says that’s in most states, counties don’t have to pay Medicaid costs.

I think NY is one of the few that does. And it’s a cost that continually is increasing and it absorbs a large percentage of our property taxes that we take in.

County social services commissioner Christopher Rediehs says the money that goes to Medicaid would be much better used elsewhere:

St. Lawrence county has in addition to social services needs, public health needs…there are many extra needs here In this county at this time because of economic challenges. And the county government is doing its best to respond to these needs at this time, but with limited resources it makes it very difficult.

Under the bill, the state would take over Medicaid expenses over the next few years. This bill comes after the St. Lawrence county board of legislators in June formally asked the state to take over its share of Medicaid costs. Several North country legislators have come out in favor of the bill—although as of yet there’s no clear answer to how the state would absorb those expenses.

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