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Proposed Changes in NYS Medicaid Funding Threaten over 60,000 Westchester Children

 

With New York facing its largest budget deficit in a decade in its 2020-21 state budget, Westchester Children’s Association stands alongside child advocacy organizations, service providers, and local decision-makers in voicing our deep concern for the welfare of more than 7 million children and adults across the state who rely on Medicaid to access critical mental, behavioral, and physical health care services and supports.

Medicaid connects Westchester’s low-income children and children with disabilities to health resources instrumental to their mental and physical development, social and emotional growth and wellness, and success in school and life. Rising Medicaid costs have been identified as a central reason for the budget deficit, but the proposed solution of shifting costs onto local government is not practical or healthy for Westchester’s 60,611 children covered by Medicaid, because local governments do not have the resources to appropriately or adequately fund Medicaid. [1]

Although mental health is the top health concern in Westchester—and was identified by residents as having the most positive impact on their health—access to mental health care, in particular, is overwhelmingly limited in communities across New York State. [2] Recent cuts in state funding to Children’s Health Homes, a program for physical and behavioral care management, and child and family treatment service rates make this an even worse time to limit state Medicaid funding. Without Medicaid funding to provide significant and universal access to key mental health services, New York will see an even more dramatic increase in unmet mental health care needs among vulnerable children and families.

Cost shifts, cuts, and failures to fund Medicaid would deprive millions of New York children and families of indispensable health resources that support their welfare and uplift their communities. We urge New York State to do right by our children and families and maintain its share of Medicaid costs.

[1] U.S. Census Bureau: 2018 ACS 5-Year Estimates Detailed Tables, Table C27007, http://data.census.gov

[2] 2018 Westchester County Transition Report, Report of the Health Services Transition Committee (pages 113-116)

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