New York officials have turned up the heat on the Clinton administration to settle a dispute involving as much as $2.6 billion in Medicaid payments.
Last week, New York Gov. George Pataki fired off a letter urging President Clinton to re-evaluate his line-item veto of a federal budget provision that would have validated certain provider taxes used by the state to inflate its share of federal Medicaid contributions. Pataki said the state's provider taxes satisfy a 1991 law that limited the use of such taxing devices. "The veto will have a deleterious impact on New York's children and its poor," he wrote.
With Clinton on vacation and Congress in recess, the state received no response as of late last week.
The government contends the move would only cost the state $200 million in Medicaid payments.
State lawmakers also have entered the fray. New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) recently asked the White House to help resolve the matter by increasing the state's federal share of Medicaid funding.
The Pataki administration has long maintained that the formula used by the federal government to calculate New York's 50% match is unfair because it overstates New York's resources and understates its needs. Matching contributions are based on each state's per-capita income.
According to HCFA statistics compiled by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 39 states have matches exceeding 50 cents on the dollar. Twenty-five of them receive 60 cents or more on every state Medicaid dollar. At 77%, Mississippi has the largest federal match.
A HCFA spokesman said negotiations are continuing with New York, but he refused to say whether a higher Medicaid match is being considered.