Friend: Opportunity To Save Medicaid After DiNapoli Report

Assemblyman Christopher S. Friend (R,C,I-Big Flats) is calling on his colleagues to bring about sweeping Medicaid reform following a report by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli exposing millions of dollars in fraud within the program.

“We have the opportunity here to reform the Medicaid system and ensure that our social safety nets aren’t abused,” Friend said. “With hundreds of millions of dollars in fraud, the current model is unsustainable, and we have to begin the conversation about just how to save Medicaid. We can no longer afford to pretend these issues do not exist. The Minority Conference and I attempted in the budget to have the state assume the entire local share of Medicaid over a gradual, five-year process. The Majority voted this down and provided no solution of their own. We’ve been entrusted to guard this program for those who need it and those who help provide it. This isn’t something to take lightly, and I will be pressing to revisit this issue before the end of session.”

In addition to the Medicaid cost assumption measure, Friend sponsors Assembly Bill 5289, which would require the Department of Health to fully reimburse the non-federal share for services as required by state law. The measure has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Health for further discussion. Friend also sponsors Assembly Bill 5201, which prohibits the levying of any unfunded mandates on local governments relating to Medicaid. This bill has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Social Services for further action. The assemblyman also is drafting legislation requiring the state to takeover the local Medicaid burden, and the county would agree to a dollar-for-dollar reduction in its property tax levy. This is a proposal brought forward by the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC). Friend has recently signed on to Assembly Bill 5056, which authorizes an enterprise approach to the detection and prevention of fraud, waste and abuse in state government, and the detection and prevention of improper payments of public money. The assemblyman is the Ranking Minority Member on the Assembly Committee on Local Governments.