Senator Flanagan Calls For Greater Medicaid Savings To Be Passed To Taxpayers

John J. Flanagan

July 21, 2006

Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) today announced that Medicaid reforms he fought for to ease the burden on local governments and property taxpayers have resulted in significantly greater savings for Suffolk County than originally projected. Senator Flanagan urged the county to pass along the unexpected savings to property taxpayers.

The Medicaid reforms, which had been expected to deliver approximately $22 million in savings, are now calculated by the New York State Association of Counties and the Division of the Budget to produce over $32 million in local savings.

Under the Medicaid plan that Senator Flanagan worked for, caps will be phased in based on a county’s 2005 Medicaid spending levels to provide relief to property taxpayers. This year’s cap was 3.5%. That level will be reduced to 3.25% in the following year and to 3% in all subsequent years.

As a result of Medicaid cost containment measures and the State cap and takeover of local Medicaid expenses, over the next two years Suffolk County will save $21,326,892 more than originally projected. This is estimated to account for a total savingsof $89,981,142 million for Suffolk County over the next two years.

Statewide the savings from Medicaid reforms are expected to be over $532 million more than originally anticipated for 2006 and 2007 for a total of $2.4 billion in local savings over the next two years.

The Medicaid cap was part of a package that was aimed at stemming the growth and cost of Medicaid. This included enhancing accountability standards aimed at checking excessive local spending growth.

The budget also implemented a preferred drug list to save on Medicaid spending related to prescription drugs and placed a strong emphasis on managed care that helped save money while ensuring that New Yorkers have access to quality health care.

These steps are on top of the 2004 State takeover of the local share of the Family Health Plus program to provide additional savings to local governments and property taxpayers.

And this year, Senator Flanagan worked to enact a plan to create the Office of Medicaid Inspector General and to combat Medicaid fraud. The antifraud plan, which is the most comprehensive in the nation, fights fraud and abuse at every step of the process, from billing and prepayment review to investigation, civil recovery and criminal prosecution of Medicaid thieves. This move has the potential to save New York residents billions in waste and fraud.

"From cutting the taxes homeowners pay to protecting the value they receive from any taxes paid, New York State must continue to provide any relief it can to the taxpayers. Now that we see the extra value of the Medicaid cap, I hope that this benefit will be passed along to Suffolk County homeowners as soon as it is realized. This is real relief that will make a difference to the Long Island homeowners whoneed it," stated Senator Flanagan.