ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has withdrawn its request to the federal government to provide Medicaid coverage for prison inmates and another request focused on New York’s effort to place newly diagnosed HIV patients on treatment.
With the looming threat of cuts to Medicaid from Washington, the state’s Department of Health said on Thursday evening that the state has “temporarily withdrawn” the waiver amendments and “will consider advancing them in the future.”
“We want to allow time for the state to have conversations with the new administration and to see where we may align on these issues,” the DOH said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Tom Price, President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, and House Speaker Paul Ryan favor Medicaid block grants, which would mean the states would receive a set amount of money to pay for the Medicaid program. Block grant programs typically don’t have waivers.
In April, Cuomo announced that the state would seek a federal waiver from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to extend medical coverage to inmates who are leaving prison. Under the waiver, Inmates would have been enrolled in Medicaid 30 days before their release and have health coverage as they return home.
The announcement from the Cuomo administration, which mirrored a proposal put forth by the Democratic-dominated Assembly, came a day after CMS issued guidance to doctors stating that people on parole, probation or in-home confinement are not to be considered as incarcerated individuals and therefore can receive Medicaid benefits if they are eligible, opening up coverage for nearly 100,000 people.
The Cuomo administration had also asked CMS to authorize federal Medicaid matching funds to advance the governor’s initiative to end the AIDS epidemic by 2020.
According to the governor’s office, the amendment to its Partnership Plan Waiver could have brought in $45 million in federal funds for programs that would have provided access to testing, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
In December, the Cuomo administration received approval to extend its Medicaid waiver for five years, giving health policy makers solace that the state’s $7.3 billion Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program couldn’t be upended by the new administration.
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