“Slashing Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) funding would have a dire effect on Buffalo seniors. That’s why I voted in favor of an Assembly budget proposal restoring $34 million of the governor’s proposed cuts. While we made some very difficult decisions to close the $10 billion budget deficit, we also have an obligation to protect seniors’ access to quality, affordable health care.
“The EPIC program currently provides over 300,000 enrollees with secondary coverage for prescription drug costs. Our proposal restores funding to ensure no program benefits are eliminated.
“We reject the governor’s plan to force all EPIC participants, regardless of financial hardship, to join a Medicare Part D drug plan. Our proposal also continues the vital ‘wraparound’ coverage for prescription drugs not covered by Medicare, as well as state payment assistance for Part D premiums and deductibles. Eliminating this aid could cost seniors up to $1,000 or more annually.
“Many older New Yorkers are on fixed incomes, making any reductions to EPIC especially disastrous. We can’t put seniors in a position where they must choose between putting food on the table and the medicine they need. Restoring EPIC funding in our budget ensures that seniors receive the support they need during these difficult times.”