Senate’s resolution would defund Obamacare exchange

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New York's State Senate majority coalition is proposing to de-fund the state's health care exchange and is looking for a greater say in how the state spends $8 billion in federal Medicaid money.

In a one-house budget resolution released Thursday, the Senate proposes defunding $53.9 million in Cuomo’s budget set aside for the insurance marketplace’s operations in the coming year. The resolution, essentially a statement of principles, would also deny $1.135 million in assessments set aside to pay for Health Benefit Exchange employees.

State GOP lawmakers have long opposed the Affordable Care Act, declining to pass a bill creating the exchange in 2012. Cuomo circumvented the Republicans and created the exchange through an executive order. 

The Senate’s resolution also takes aim at a number of other health care proposals in Cuomo’s budget, pulling funding from a proposal to spend $55 million on electronic health records, and establishing a role for the Legislature in determining how $1.2 billion in capital funding for health care facilities can be spent.

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Both houses of the Legislature have expressed concerns about broad language in Cuomo’s budget that would give the state’s health commissioner a virtual blank check in determining how waiver funds are spent, with upstate lawmakers arguing that New York City's hospitals are not the only facilities in desperate need of federal aid.

The Senate’s budget proposes establishing a review council to recommend proposed expenditures of waiver funding, and would require an “equitable statewide distribution of 1115 Waiver funds to the extent possible.”

The Senate's resolution also offers language supportive of state plans to require insurers to offer plans with out-of-network coverage, but stopped short of language that would make such coverage a requirement.