As Budgets Squeeze, States Seek More Federal Help With Medicaid Responsibilities

New York Gov. David Paterson is trying to build a coalition of states to seek a "federal takeover of health care costs for the elderly poor who receive benefits under both Medicare and Medicaid," to help ease the burden on state budgets, The Associated Press reports.

"Paterson and Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch have already spoken with officials in California and other big states, which they wouldn't name because they are still considering the idea. The savings to New York alone would total the projected deficit for the 2010-11 fiscal year of about $8 billion." Paterson says the takeover would cost the federal government $70 billion and would help avoid cuts to education and an increase in state taxes. "California's Medicaid director said his state is interested in the proposal as long as it reduces state costs."

Paterson estimated that about 17 percent of New Yorkers are enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare. "In addition to the 'dual membership' costs of administration, he said, the people being served face a 'nightmare' of bureaucracy" (Gormley, 1/12).

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