Lupardo Endorses Medicaid Reform Plan

Will co-sponsor Tonko’s legislation

BINGHAMTON – Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) was joined today by Assemblyman Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam) to present the findings from his Medicaid reform report, "Not All Counties are Created Equal: Uncapping the Truth about the Medicaid Funding Crisis".

Counties with a higher need for Medicaid also have a lower ability to pay. For many counties, the ability to pay for services is severely restrained by the local tax base. Poorer counties tend to have a higher percentage of Medicaid spending relative to their overall county budget.

The lack of economic and population growth in these counties, combined with a high percentage of low income and elderly populations greatly affects their ability to generate funds for increased Medicaid costs. In Broome County, 20.7 percent of the population is over the age of sixty years compared to 15 percent for the rest of New York State.

The lack of local control over rising Medicaid costs forces many counties to reduce and eliminate other necessary services. A Medicaid funding solution which takes into account certain demographic and economic realities can serve as a lifeline for property taxpayers throughout New York State.

The recent discussion about "capping" Medicaid would only be locking in the inequities that currently exist in perpetuity. A full takeover of the Medicaid local share by the State is the best solution. However, given the current fiscal shortfall, this is unrealistic.

"I support the findings in Assemblyman Tonko’s report and will co-sponsor legislation that he will be introducing shortly," said Assemblywoman Lupardo.

Under the proposal sponsored by Tonko and Lupardo, Broome County would receive over $20 million in property tax relief beginning state fiscal year 2006.