Top officials in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration on Wednesday signaled plans to reverse support for cutting the growth of Medicaid spending by $550 million in the state budget this year, citing President Donald Trump’s federal budget proposal released this week.
At the same time, top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa and budget director Robert Mujica knocked the proposed budget resolutions by the state Senate and Assembly as unrealistic for seeking increases in spending.
The budgets proposed by Trump and state lawmakers are largely aspirational documents. Members of Congress have said Trump’s budget is “dead on arrival” and stands little chance of becoming law.
Nevertheless, the Cuomo administration said it would treat the Trump plan as “serious as a heart attack.”
“After SALT and what happened there, we’re going to take this very seriously, we’re not going to take it lying down,” DeRosa said.
Cuomo last month amended his $175 billion budget to include a $550 million slow down in spending for Medicaid. The proposal was opposed by both hospital systems in the state as well as the politically influential labor union, 1199SEIU.
But Mujica pointed to the federal budget action as requiring the state to “relook” at his own budget given the Trump proposal to curtail Medicaid spending.
“We have to now work to shore up the hospitals and nursing homes and the health care side of the budget,” he said.
It’s not clear where the money to shore up the health care spending would be drawn. Mujica indicated the money would be taken from elsewhere in the budget.
Meanwhile, lawmakers on Wednesday worked to pass one-house budget resolutions that sought more money for health care and education aid than what Cuomo has sought.
DeRosa criticized the spending proposals for being in “fantasy land” and pointed to the looming economic troubles some economists have projected for next year.
“They were completely irresponsible,” she said of the budget proposals from state lawmakers. “The numbers don’t add up. We want to ground the conversation back into reality.”
Michael Whyland, a spokesman for Speaker Carl Heastie, tweeted in response: “Everyone is entitled to their own wrong opinion.”
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