By GREGORY ZELLER //
Is Andrew Cuomo running for president?
The governor has been customarily coy about a potential 2020 White House bid, and with an increasingly sticky 2018 re-election campaign to navigate first, there’s certainly no rush on an official declaration.
But Cuomo hasn’t been shy about taking the current administration to task over what he sees as flaws in President Donald Trump’s decision-making, logic, even motives. And when a big-name politician in a megawatt state calls out a president from across the aisle – even diplomatically, often without naming names – the pundits naturally pounce.
Cuomo doubled down on the anti-He Who Won’t Be Named rhetoric Wednesday, when he issued a statement that “announces (the) devastating impact of targeted federal attacks on New York State.”
While bombast and fustian overstatement have marked Trump’s public commentary (and digital pronouncements) since he took office in January, Cuomo blasted with both barrels this week, listing “policies targeted to directly hurt New York State” – often with crippling financial ramifications, to the tune of more than $21 billion annually.
The governor’s airing of grievances included proposed federal cuts to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital payments (for qualifying hospitals that serve large numbers of Medicaid patients and uninsured individuals), which Cuomo says will ultimately cost New York upwards of $2.6 billion per year.
The governor also lambasted a proposed $1.1 billion cut to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services effort that matches state funds to provide health insurance for uninsured families. Cuomo likened that reduction to “an assault on children’s healthcare.”
Also on Cuomo’s naughty list: Trump’s proposed federal tax plan, which could cost New York some $17.5 billion annually by eliminating the deductibility of state and local taxes from federal taxes, and the defeated Obamacare-overthrowing Graham-Cassidy Bill, which would have cost New York $16.9 billion by 2025 – “the most of any state,” according to the governor.
The president’s proposed tax plan “must be stopped,” Cuomo said, and Graham-Cassidy “must not be resurrected.”
But the potential 2020 White House candidate was only warming up, lamenting policies that are “devastating state and local governments, straining public and not-for-profit hospitals and jeopardizing quality healthcare for more than 3 million New Yorkers” – without ever mentioning Trump by name.
Cuomo’s statement never invokes the president or the White House, instead lamenting “the proposed federal tax plan” and “the federal Congress” – often for its inactivity, such as the House and Senate’s “failure to reauthorize” the CHIP.
Still, the governor dug deep into the human effects of some of Trump’s most public platforms. He noted the 1.2 million New York healthcare jobs that would have been lost to Graham-Cassidy, hundreds of statewide hospitals – including Stony Brook University Hospital and the Nassau University Medical Center – that would be impacted by the DSH cuts and 330,000 New York children who could lose their CHIP coverage, nearly 4 percent of 9 million children jeopardized nationally.
Moreover, the governor noted, the policies sometimes appear specifically designed to hurt New York. While Cuomo’s office estimates the Empire State as the No. 1 state contributor to the federal government, “sending $48 billion more to Washington each year than is returned,” the proposed federal cuts carry ramifications for New York that are “disproportionate to the rest of the country.”
Citing the “devastating impact of the federal government’s reckless policies,” Cuomo said he was mobilizing a “coalition” to work with the state’s Congressional delegation to “fight back” against what he called “a dagger in the heart to New York State.”
“These devastating federal cuts … attack needy healthcare patients, strip away healthcare from children, force cuts on stressed hospitals and local governments and ultimately raise taxes on New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. “We must speak up now, mobilize to stop these devastating cuts and stand up for our New York values.
“We will not stand idly by while the federal government targets middle- and working-class New Yorkers.”