Tag Archives: Medicaid

NYSAC: Counties to be socked with increasing pension costs

by Carol Thompson

While the property tax cap appears good in theory, county governments are struggling to keep ahead of the seemingly never-ending costs New York State is handing down to local taxpayers.

The New York State Association of Counties announced last Friday that, once again, the local taxpayer is getting stung — this time with pension costs.

Last week’s announcement by the state comptroller that counties’ pension contributions (and the contributions of all employers in the state’s pension system) will increase from 18.9 to 20.9 percent for non-uniform and from 25.8 to 28.9 percent for police and fire is troubling news for county governments, NYSAC reported.

“Faced with a multi-year, multi-billion-dollar fiscal gap and a state imposed cap on property taxes, county governments across the state will have great difficulty making this payment,” the NYSAC said. “Our counties are already having difficulty putting together balanced budgets for 2013.

“This 10.5-percent increase will consume the entire allowable increase under the state-imposed two-percent property tax cap for 2013,” it continued. “All other costs necessary to run county government will very likely be above the cap.”

Since 2000, county pension contributions have grown from $47 million to more than $900 million in 2013, according to NYSAC. “The trend is simply unsustainable and has caused serious fiscal problems in every New York county,” the release states.

Between pension contributions and local Medicaid costs, county taxpayers will send $8.5 billion to the state capital in 2013.

For Oswego County taxpayers, they can expect to send an anticipated increase of $1.3 million for 2013, according to County Administrator Phil Church. Those numbers will be re-worked this week based on last week’s announcement, Church noted.

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County officials to decide who administrates Medicaid program

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County officials have responded to a survey requested by the New York State Department of Health in regard to the state takeover of Medicaid administration.

The laws of 2012 authorizes the Department of Health to transfer responsibility for the administration of the Medicaid program from local social services districts over a period of six years (by March 31, 2018).

The Department of Health may accomplish the assumption of administrative responsibilities with state staff, contracted entities, and contracts with counties, according to information provided by the county.

The legislation requires the Department of Health to send a Statement of Interest to counties to elicit their interest and capacity to contract with the Department of Health to perform Medicaid administrative functions.

The Department of Health will determine the timing of the assumption of functions. The timing will be based on when the state has created the infrastructure (staff and systems) to take on the function.

The Department of Health will publish a timeline for assuming functions once the results of the Statement of Interest have been analyzed.

The timeline will be updated each year until 2018 or when full state assumption of Medicaid functions has been achieved, according to state officials.

Oswego County and the Department of Social Services have been invited to complete a survey of interest which should be submitted to the Department of Health by Sept. 10.

Those counties not submitting the survey will be assumed to have no desire to contract with the Department of Health.

According to the New York State Association of Counties, the state’s Medicaid program leads the nation when it comes to providing Medicaid for those who cannot afford to pay for medical care.

The program serves nearly five million residents and is rapidly growing and accounts for 40 percent of the total $136 billion State Budget.

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Oswego County Legislature chairman calls on Senator Patty Ritchie to take action

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley has sent a letter to state Senator Patty Ritchie urging her and her colleagues to accelerate the governor’s Medicaid mandate relief.

In a letter dated March 12, Beardsley wrote, “In the next several days, as you prepare to vote for your state budget, please know that Oswego County property taxpayers are relying on you to enact this mandate relief.”

Beardsley outlined four mandate relief proposals included in the governor’s budget. They are early intervention reform, preschool special education reform, pension reform and a freeze on the local share of Medicaid costs.

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