Ramos: the Assembly is Fighting to Protect Suffolk County Families

This week the Assembly passed a budget resolution (C.322) that is fiscally sound, invests in New York’s future and takes another step closer to a fair, on-time budget. The resolution, outlining the Assembly’s priorities, specifically helps working families of Suffolk County by providing more resources to educate school children, care for the sick and elderly, aid struggling college students pursuing their dreams, and expand the state’s economy –providing solid relief for overburdened property taxpayers

Assemblyman Philip Ramos (D- Central Islip) has been fighting against the governor’s unfair budget cuts. "Governor Pataki has proposed a budget that cuts health care and raises taxes on working families, while giving the wealthiest 1 percent – those making over $500,000 – a tax break. That’s just not fair."

Providing quality, affordable health care

Assembly’s budget resolution rejects the governor’s Medicaid cuts and taxes on hospitals and nursing homes, including a "sick tax" and reductions in Family Health Plus benefits. Under the governor’s plan, Southside Hospital will lose $1.5 million and Good Samaritan Hospital Center will lose $2.1 million.

"Make no mistake – when the governor talks about Medicaid ‘reform’ – he’s talking about cuts – cuts that deny health care to those who need it most," Ramos said. "The governor proposes to completely strip Family Health Plus and then offers local governments a state takeover of what’s left."

Ramos noted that about 70 cents of every Medicaid dollar goes to care for the elderly and disabled, and a significant portion of New York’s health care system relies on Medicaid funding. "When a hospital, nursing home or home health care agency absorbs cuts and higher taxes, staff and services suffer – leading to poorer quality care for all of us," Ramos added.

To ease the increasing local burden from Medicaid costs, the Assembly proposes a complete cap on the local share of Medicaid spending growth – a move that when combined with the takeover of Family Health Plus will save Suffolk County property taxpayers over $22 million. That’s $10 million more than the governor’s plan would provide in 2006 and $19 million more in 2007.