Governor makes case for transferring costs of dual eligibles to federal government

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Gov. David Paterson (D-NY)
Gov. David Paterson (D-NY)

New York Gov. David Paterson (D) is attempting to build a “national, bipartisan movement” among big states to shift the costs of dual eligible beneficiaries to the federal government, according to recent reports.

Paterson and his lieutenant, Richard Ravitch, have spoken with leaders in California, as well as a number of other large states about the coalition. California's Medicaid director is on board with the idea, as long as it reduces costs. Other states are still considering it. The National Governor's Association has no official position, The Associated Press reported. Dual eligibles make up a significant portion of nursing home residents.

The move could avert certain disaster for states already facing huge deficits for 2010-2011, according to Paterson. Covering the costs associated with dual eligibles, or those eligible for Medicaid and Medicare, would constitute only a small fraction of federal healthcare spending, he said. Dual eligibles make up roughly 17% of the population of New York, and cost $8 billion each year, he told the AP. A federal takeover would cost the federal government $70 billion, according to AP.


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