Chairman Crowley on ‘Empire State Kickback’ Included in Harmful Republican Health Care Repeal Bill

March 21, 2017

(Washington, D.C.) – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement after Republican leaders included a provision in the GOP health care repeal bill that would deny federal matching funds for Medicaid dollars raised in New York State counties:

“The American Health Care Act will tremendously harm New York State, its residents, and the country as a whole by ending health care coverage for 24 million Americans, raising premiums for seniors, and cutting billions of dollars from state Medicaid programs.

“And Republican leaders, upon realizing that even members of their own party were waking up to the damaging effects of the American Health Care Act, made a last-ditch play for votes by crafting a ‘Empire State Kickback’ provision. This provision would deny federal matching funds on any Medicaid dollars raised from counties and provide a powerful incentive for New York State to discontinue requiring county contributions altogether.

“Not only would New York City be left with the $2 billion check once other New York counties stop paying into Medicaid, but the state would be forced to respond to the lack of federal revenue in other ways – either through cuts to services, limiting Medicaid eligibility for New Yorkers, or reducing payments to health care providers. New York State could even feel obligated to raise property taxes or levy replacement fees on counties to make up the resulting shortfall.

“The ‘Empire State Kickback’ is nothing but political maneuvering of the worst kind – a shameful attempt to lure political support for a bill that remains, at its core, bad policy built by a bad process. Experts have questioned whether this kickback is constitutional, much less whether it will meet Senate budget rules. New Yorkers have had enough of backroom, closed-door dealing, and this amendment, like the base bill, should be rejected as the political ploy that it so clearly is.”