From the NYS Assembly • Sheldon Silver, Speaker
Richard N. Gottfried • Chair, Health Committee
The governor habitually tries to cut funding to vital health care services, damaging an already frail system and asking New York’s most vulnerable citizens to pay more for poorer care. Once again, the governor is trying to shift the deficit burden onto those who can least afford it. The governor’s budget cuts and taxes health care by nearly $1.5 billion. Our sick and elderly deserve better.
His health care cuts will limit benefits for sick, elderly and disabled New Yorkers. It also threatens jobs – the health care industry is the first or second largest employer in every county in the state; over 34,600 health care workers stand to lose their jobs if the governor’s budget passes.
To make matters worse, after vowing to not raise taxes, the governor proposes implementing a "sick tax" on hospitals, home care agencies, and nursing homes. These facilities and workers are constantly asked to do more with less – and it’s time that they get some relief.
Devastating cuts mean devastated families
Last year the Legislature was successful in fighting off the governor’s drastic $2 billion cut to health care. This year he’s come back with a budget that:
Limiting access to affordable health care
Family Health Plus is a crucial program that expands health care coverage to include low-income working families. Yet the governor has proposed eliminating this coverage for individuals who work for a company with more than 50 employees, or who has had health coverage within the last 12 months. These cuts punish the very people the program was designed to help – working families who don’t get health benefits through their employers. He also plans to eliminate the vision and dental benefits normally covered by Family Health Plus. This cut is asking these people to sacrifice too much – the health and well being of their families.
Health care cuts hit seniors hardest
On top of this, the governor’s budget cuts $60 million from EPIC – which would drive pharmacies out of the program and make prescription drugs less available to seniors. The Assembly has worked hard to provide seniors with affordable prescription drugs by expanding the income eligibility levels for EPIC and simplifying the program’s fee structure, but once again, the governor’s budget undermines the Assembly’s progress.
The governor also threatens senior citizen’s long-term care benefits by making it harder for most to qualify. Currently, any assets transferred by a senior citizen before applying for Medicaid count in determining the amount of coverage received for three years after the transfer. The governor wants to extend that period to five years after you apply for benefits, delaying the long-term care many seniors depend on, requiring people of modest means to impoverish themselves, or pressuring family members to assume the heavy financial burden of caring for an elderly relative.
Medicaid proposal offers taxpayers little relief
Local governments have been demanding relief from escalating Medicaid costs – something the Assembly has long supported. The governor has proposed a ten-year takeover of long-term care – saving localities just $24 million this year – less than one percent of their total Medicaid costs.
Still, it is good news that the governor has finally seen the need to ease the Medicaid burden on local taxpayers. In fact, had the governor gone along with the Assembly’s proposals to have the state assume a larger share of Medicaid and the full non-federal share of Family Health Plus, local taxpayers would have saved nearly $1 billion since 1995.
The Assembly continues to fight for quality, affordable health care
When it comes to our health, and the health of our loved ones — the Assembly will make the right choices that provide the care our families need.The Assembly Majority has consistently worked to improve health care for all families in New York and we’ll continue the fight to ensure the governor’s budget is not balanced on the backs of New York’s most vulnerable citizens.
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