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June 24, 2017 - 2:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in healthcare, Medicaid, chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today hailed the inclusion of his amendment to the House passed American Health Care Act into the Senate version of the bill. The amendment, introduced with Congressman John Faso (NY-19), would require New York State to take over the county portion of Medicaid by 2020 and would provide the largest property tax reduction ever to Western New York.
 
“This was a long fought battle against the injustice in Albany and is a big victory for taxpayers,” Congressman Collins said.
 
Federal law now permits states to share some of their costs with local governments, but New York is the only state that has imposed this level of burden on property taxpayers. Counties currently have no say in how local revenues are spent on Medicaid; they’re simply required to foot part of Albany’s bill. Local state leaders agreed that the inclusion of the amendment is important and welcome news for Western New York residents.
 
"Mandate relief has been talked about in Albany for as long as anyone can remember - it certainly wasn't new when I was talking about it as mayor. It's not a headline-grabbing or attractive issue, so meaningful proposals on mandate relief are generally swept aside. But I can tell you that it's real. It's real for the local governments who deal with tight budgets and it's real for taxpayers who pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation. I applaud Congressman Collins for bringing this issue to the forefront. Ideally, this would have been a serious discussion at the state level, but having failed that, I'm pleased that we could possibly address the crippling burden placed on our local governments as part of larger, federal health care discussions,” said State Senator Ortt.
 
“As a long-time supporter of curbing the costs of Medicaid, which would take a heavy burden off of local governments, I am proud to support Congressman Collins’ amendment. The impact on my assembly district and local taxpayers will be tremendous with estimated tax reductions of 49 percent in Orleans County and 35 percent in Genesee County. It is clear that New York’s outrageous Medicaid spending is one of the driving forces behind property and school tax increases and it is time for government to take that burden off our residents’ backs,” said Assemblyman Steve Hawley.
 
"Western New Yorkers pay some of the highest property taxes in the state. Rep. Collins' amendment fixes this problem and protects upstate taxpayers from Albany’s unfunded mandates. Removing the unfunded county Medicaid mandate is key to reducing local property taxes and growing our economy,” said Assemblyman Ray Walter. 
 
"This amendment is a blessing for upstate families, small businesses, and farms that’ve been crushed by the high taxes and unfunded mandates coming from Albany. The inclusion of this amendment is a win for our towns and villages and I appreciate Rep. Collins efforts to stand up for our taxpayers,” said Assemblyman Joseph Errigo.   
 
"I'm pleased that the Senate has included Rep. Collins's amendment in the healthcare reform bill. This promises real relief for property taxpayers in communities like Niagara County, and holds state government accountable to fund their mandates instead of passing on costs to the local level. Americans deserve access to the best healthcare possible, but it shouldn't fall to just homeowners to fund the system,” said Niagara County Legislature Chairman Wm. Keith McNall.
 
"Congressman Collins' Medicaid proposal will provide historic “real” property tax relief for hardworking local taxpayers. Currently over 30 perfect of the Ontario County property tax levy currently goes towards paying for New York's unfunded Medicaid mandate. I look forward to working with Rep. Collins and the members of the Board of Supervisors as we continue our efforts to reduce the burden on hardworking taxpayers in our community," said Jack Marren, Chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors. 
 
"This is an important step forward in our fight to reduce unfunded mandates and protect local taxpayers. This measure will reduce local property taxes and help ensure that our seniors can afford to stay in their homes," said Bob Green, Vice Chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors.
 
“We as a board supported a resolution in support of this measure because protecting property taxpayers is one of our prime concerns. This legislation will reduce an unfunded state mandate and help us deliver real tax relief to local homeowners,” said Eric Gott, Chairman, Livingston County Board of Supervisors.  
 
“We appreciate Rep. Collins efforts to relieve the counties of this extraordinary unfunded mandate. This will be a tremendous relief to local county property taxpayers and will allow us to invest in our infrastructure and other county services,” said Raymond Cianfrini, Chairman, Genesee County Legislature.  
 
“For years counties in New York have decried the use of property taxes to fund New York State’s expansive Medicaid program. We are optimistic that changes at the federal level can result in real, substantive, positive changes to the bottom line for county property taxpayers,” said David B. Callard, Chairman, Orleans County Legislature.
 
The Senate is expected to vote next week on their version of the Obamacare repeal bill.
April 4, 2017 - 5:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Medicaid, news, Andrew Cuomo, chris collins.

It's just two partisans fighting, County Manager Jay Gsell said of a proposal to shift money around so that counties in the State of New York could get relief from the unfunded mandate known as Medicaid.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is backing legislation called the Empire State Equity Act, which would shift back to New York, some $30 billion in taxpayer money from the federal government to the state.

With that money, the state then could assume the cost of the $2.3 billion shelled out by counties now to support Medicaid, but only for counties that agreed to cut local property taxes by the amount of their current share.

That could be $277 average savings per property in Genesee County, according to a chart released by the governor's office.

Where the governor sees tax savings for county residents, Gsell sees smoke and mirrors and political rhetoric aimed at Rep. Chris Collins.

"It's a political war of words between two people, Collins and Cuomo, who seem to really dislike each other and engage in negative partisanship to the max," Gsell said.

The way Gsell sees it, the proposal is asking the feds to "artificially" adjust a funding formula for New York, which is similar to something Schumer did temporarily a few years ago, and give it the "innocent sounding phrase, 'Empire Equity,' and then only provide a cost shift."

Gsell noted the benefit level -- a cause of the state's high Medicaid expense as he sees it -- wouldn't be cut under the governer's proposal, which leaves him distrustful of the long-term effects.

He thinks many counties might pass 100 percent of the cost savings onto taxpayers in the form of lower property taxes, but he fears that is just a trap.

"Our concern, borne out of 50 years of NYS unilateral imposition of cost shifts and mandates," Gsell said, "is that just like with re-K/EI (early intervention) funding and the elimination of the counties from the AIM dollars (a state revenue share with municipalities), as the state was going to take over 75 percent of the total program cost, but they stopped at 59 percent and left the counties out to dry.

"The same can happen with the Empire Equity Act in that the state holds all the cards, all the control, and always blames we locals for the abysmal state of property taxes, and they -- and he, Gov. Cuomo -- refuse to take any responsibility for the unfunded mandates and cost shifts, creating in essence a NYS property tax 'levy' within our county budgets."

Cuomo has called New York a "donor state," in that it pays out $30 billion more in taxes to the federal government than it receives in benefits. He touted this bill as a way to "level the playing field."

The governor backed the proposal as a response to an amendment from Collins to the American Health Care Act, which was eventually pulled from a vote by Speaker Paul Ryan, that would have prohibited the State of New York from taking money from counties to help fund Medicaid. Cuomo called the Collins proposal "a fraud."

"Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, God rest his soul, used to talk about the unfairness that New York gave so much and got back so little," Cuomo said during a press conference on the proposal. "Second, the promises made, from Congressman Ryan to President Trump to Mr. Faso to Mr. Collins was tax relief for the working men and women of this country. Right? That’s what they all ran on. That’s what they all promised. That’s what they all said.

"Well, this actually does just that. This says, 'let’s give New York additional Medicaid money because they are a donor state, let’s reduce the inequity' and New York will then give the money to the taxpayers in property tax relief."

An aide to Collins provided this statement:

“Although late to the party, I am glad Governor Cuomo has finally seen how unsustainable it is to force hardworking property taxpayers to subsidize New York’s out of control Medicaid program,” said Congressman Chris Collins. “Unfortunately, instead of reviewing his own bloated budget for the 1.5 percent needed, the out-of-touch Governor demands more federal government for the nation's most bloated Medicaid program.

"The Governor needs to quit living a federally funded fairy tale and find savings in New York's Medicaid program which costs 44-percent more per recipient than the national average, and spends more than those of Texas and Florida combined.”

March 23, 2017 - 12:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Medicaid.

sln_march12_wherestatesgetmoney.jpg

March 21, 2017 - 7:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Medicaid, healthcare, chris collins, kathy hochul, NY-27, news.

A proposal to block New York from using county taxpayer money to pay for Medicaid sounds good on paper, but as always, the devil is in the details, says County Manager Jay Gsell.

Gsell's biggest fear is that even if the proposal is passed by Congress, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office would just find a way to shift other expenses to the counties.

"My sense of the reaction from the governor and the lieutenant governor over the last week is that it is very likely how they would respond," Gsell said. "They’re still putting a state budget together. Things could change on a dime."

The proposal comes from Rep. Chris Collins, who is having it added as an amendment to the House GOP's health care bill aimed at replacing the Affordable Healthcare Act.

From a Collins press release put out earlier today:

The Medicaid Local Share Limitation, which was proposed by Congressmen Chris Collins and John Faso, would bar federal reimbursements for New York State Medicaid funds raised from local governments. The proposal would only apply to the $2.3 billion being raised from counties outside of New York City. New York State currently raises $7 billion from its local governments to fund its $27 billion Medicaid liability, which is the largest amount in the nation.

“This is a huge win for our constituents,” Congressman Collins said. “I want to thank President Trump, House leadership, Congressman Faso, and the rest of my fellow New Yorkers for getting this key provision included. Year after year, Albany’s leadership relies on counties to foot the bill for New York State’s out-of-control Medicaid costs. Enough is enough.

"This amendment will stop Albany from forcing its unfunded mandate down the throats of taxpayers, and help counties lower the property tax burden on hardworking families. We understand the devastating impact New York’s reckless spending is having on everyday New Yorkers, and I’m proud to join with members of our delegation to bring vital tax relief to our constituents.”

In a tweet today, Collins said his amendment to the bill, called "Ryancare" by some, and "Trumpcare" by others, would save Genesee County taxpayers $9.4 million that the county currently pays as a local share of Medicaid expense.

Gsell said it's more than $9.6 million of an overall $68 million expense, with the Federal government and state government picking up the balance of the cost. 

The proposal from Collins has brought forth blistering attacks from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Last week, Hochul said in a statement:

"What’s worse, a New York Republican Congressman, Chris Collins, is offering an amendment that would wreak havoc on the state. While I understand that the Democrats in Washington are attacking Collins on ethics issues and are having a heated political fight, they shouldn’t be played out at the expense of everyday New Yorkers.

“Here are the facts: The overall Medicaid plan would cost the state billions of dollars of lost federal funds and jeopardize hospital stability."

She said the Collins proposal would amount to a $4.7 billion tax increase on the people of New York.

According to a report in the Democrat and Chronicle, Cuomo ripped the bill as a "death trap" that would devastate hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Upstate New York.

"My greatest fear from last year’s election has actually come true, which is you have a rabid, conservative ideology in Washington that would tell New York to drop dead, and that is exactly what is going on," Cuomo said.

At $60 billion per year, New York is topped only by California (at $85 billion) in total Medicaid spending. In New York, counties cover $7 billion of the state's share of the Medicaid expense, by far the highest share of any state in the union.

This for a program that is defined by the Feds as a "Federal and state" (not county) medical coverage benefit for people with limited income.

In her statement last week, Hochul offered up a history of how counties came to help pay for Medicaid, saying the counties agreed to take on this expense, but Gsell said that's not his understanding of the history.

Gsell said the counties got roped in against their will in the 1960s when Congress created a long-term care program and ordered states to help pay for it and New York turned around and told counties they would share in the expense. Then when Medicaid was created a few years later, New York told the counties they would pick up 25 percent of the tab, though at the time, the program was a lot less expensive than it is today.

"I saw some comments by Ms. Hochul last week that said, ‘oh, the counties have nothing to be grousing about -- they've been funding Medicaid forever,' " Gsell said. "She alluded to this one- or two-year-old piece of Federal legislation from the early '60s and says, ‘yeah, the counties volunteered to do it.’ No, even then, the state told the counties, 'you will fund this program.' "

New York's Medicaid bill is so high, Gsell said, because the state covers the full smorgasbord of coverage. Whereas the Federal government has only about 15 services that are mandated, New York offers the full slate of available options, more than 30 altogether.

At no time, Gsell said, have states been given any opportunity to have a say in who is covered, how they are covered or what is offered. Everything is mandated by the Federal government or the state.

When Gsell became county manager 23 years ago, the county share of coverage was about $4 million, but the expense started increasing at 5 to 10 percent per year until the county share was capped a few years ago.

The Collins amendment is designed, in part, to help secure support from New York's congressional delegation. That overt political maneuver prompted another statement from Hochul today:

"Mr. Collins has perpetuated a political scam on New York. As Mr. Trump’s bag man he has had to buy votes to pass the Affordable Care Act and did it by promising counties relief from their share of Medicaid. He now wants New York State to pay his $2.3 billion political IOU.

"The state cannot and should not. If Mr. Collins wants to buy votes let the federal government pick up the share rather that the people of New York. Local county taxes or state taxes New Yorkers still pay. One way or another, it is still coming out of New York taxpayers’ pockets. Let Mr. Collins help New York State and his district by having the federal government pay – that is why he is in Washington.

"He could easily help pay by reducing the $150 billion tax cut to the richest 1 percent of Americans or buying one less tank from Trump’s record defense budget. Why make the people of his district pay for his politics. We do know Mr. Collins is adept at corrupt financial schemes but this is the ultimate insider trading scam."

Ryancare/Trumpcare is by no means assured of passing. It will obviously receive Democratic opposition, but a number of House conservatives also oppose it. It will also face a tough fight in the Senate.

Still, if it does pass, Gsell is far from certain it will lift the burden from Genesee County for unfunded mandates. He believes, based on the stern opposition to the cost shift from Cuomo and Hochul, that Albany will just pull the purse strings tighter on other programs with county-state cost shares, such as indigent defense, Safety-Net, Pre-K early intervention and probation assistance. The state share of a total of nine state-mandated programs exceeds the potential $9.6 million in cost savings offered by Collins amendment.

"The money that the state has to start absorbing could turn on our budgets in these other areas with less state aid," Gsell said. "The state is not going to go quietly into the night."

Michael McAdams, a spokesman for Collins, rejected this contention outright.

"That's an unfounded hypothetical," McAdams said. "There's no basis for thinking that would actually occur."

The ironic piece of this fight between Collins and Hochul (who lost the congressional seat to Collins after one term) is Hochul has long been a strong proponent of local communities, making a point to shop local every holiday, for example, even stopping in Batavia stores.

Through the governor's press office and on Twitter, we reached out to Hochul to ask her to address the seeming contradiction of supporting local communities while backing an unfunded mandate, but we haven't received a response.

Gsell thinks Hochul's position may not be entirely her own.

"It struck me as she was being instructed," Gsell said. "This didn’t sound like a Kathy Hochul thing. It mirrored very much what the governor’s thing is, which is, ‘counties, shut up. You’ve got your Medicaid cap. We’ve given you pension reform with Tier 6. You’ve gotten enough. Go away. We’re not going to cost shift from counties to the state.' ’’

March 10, 2017 - 11:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul, chris collins, NY-27, Medicaid.

Press release from Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat:

“Our Founding Fathers warned us this day would come. Partisan politics would overtake good government for the people. The Medicaid changes being proposed in Washington would cut taxes for wealthy special interests while devastating New York State’s finances and all but eliminating health care for the most vulnerable New Yorkers.

“What’s worse, a New York Republican Congressman, Chris Collins, is offering an amendment that would wreak havoc on the state. While I understand that the Democrats in Washington are attacking Collins on ethics issues and are having a heated political fight, they shouldn’t be played out at the expense of everyday New Yorkers.

“Here are the facts: The overall Medicaid plan would cost the state billions of dollars of lost federal funds and jeopardize hospital stability. As if that were not enough, Rep. Collins would have the state assume the counties’ share of Medicaid expenses outside of New York City. The current breakdown is 13 percent county, 36 percent state, and 51 percent federal. This ill-conceived plan would cost his home state approximately $2.3 billion. Unbelievably, that’s on top of the cost of the Republican Affordable Care Act repeal plan – another $2.4 billion.

“Translation: Rep. Collins is proposing a tax increase on New Yorkers to the tune of $4.7 billion. This one-two punch would destroy all the hard work the Governor and Legislature have accomplished in the last six years to lower taxes across the board and achieve the lowest spending increases in recorded history. New Yorkers will be at risk of losing their healthcare, hospitals will be forced to lay off workers, and our vulnerable elderly will find it much harder to afford nursing home care.

“On the merits, the counties have no right to claim this is an undue burden. They paid a percentage of health care costs even before Medicaid – and in fact, currently have a more favorable agreement than in decades.

“In 1960 – well before New York State and most counties had any sales tax revenue to pay for it – Congress passed the Kerr-Mills Act, which created a national role in funding health care for the elderly. Under this program, the counties in New York paid approximately 44 percent of the cost of care, the state paid about 38 percent, and the federal government paid around 18 percent. 

“In 1965, Medicaid replaced that program and the counties paid 25 percent. That same year, the state began giving counties the option of collecting sales tax on their behalf. Every county in New York has subsequently agreed to this option. Many counties in the nation don’t get sales tax, and most of those receive less than our counties. Moreover, the state recently agreed to give the counties additional help – after hearing the counties’ complaints of the growing Medicaid costs, the state has held them harmless for any increases since 2011. 

“As a result, the counties’ share for Medicaid is down from 25 percent to 13 percent, and the state assumed this cost while still living within the 2 percent spending cap, and all while cutting taxes. The state is not asking the counties to do anything more than we have done ourselves. In fact, the state has done far more. If the Collins amendment passed, the state would need to raise income taxes or the counties would have to forego their share of sales tax in exchange for the state picking up the additional Medicaid costs.

“In short, Rep. Collins’ amendment and the Affordable Care Act repeal would transfer $4.7 billion in costs to the state which would translate into a new tax for New Yorkers. I know firsthand that the people of the 27th Congressional District face enough challenges in their lives – they don’t need to worry about increasing health care costs or new taxes. 

“Rep. Collins should stop prioritizing his wealthy friends and start helping his home state by protecting the most vulnerable from losing their healthcare and not putting the state budget at risk. Remember, as my mentor Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to always point out, New York is a donor state – we pay more in federal taxes than we receive back.

“Mr. Collins, try practicing good government rather than partisan politics.” 

Through a spokesman, Collins responded in a story in the Buffalo News.

May 18, 2016 - 4:58pm

Press release:

The general public is invited to attend any of four FREE hour-long seminars on the benefits, requirements and application procedures for health care assistance for low-income individuals from New York State Medicaid.

Dubbed “Medicaid 101,” they will take place from 2 to 3 p.m., and 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 19, and Tuesday, May 24, at Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR), 113 Main St., Suite 5, Batavia.

The instructor, ILGR Facilitated Enroller David Dodge, describes the seminars: “Medicaid 101 will be a presentation designed to help the community better understand Medicaid and the benefits that come with Medicaid coverage. In addition, our Medicaid Application Assistance Program (MAAP) will be discussed, so participants can be informed about the option to have someone assist them with their application should they choose to apply. 

“This would also be an opportunity for folks to schedule an appointment with me. However, we would not be providing actual Medicaid application assistance at this event due to its public nature and our HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) government-mandated privacy obligations.”

Those interested can receive more information, get a Resource Packet with Medicaid materials, and sign up for the seminars by calling David Dodge at (585) 815-8501, ext. 415.

July 3, 2012 - 8:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Medicaid, DSS.

The state is planning to take over all of the administrative functions for Medicaid, but the state isn't ready and shows no signs of being ready any time soon.

That's what Eileen Kirkpatrick, commissioner of Social Services in Genesee County, told the Human Services Committee during its meeting Monday.

New York has set a deadline of April 2018 for Medicaid administration to be switched from county DSS offices to state employees, either working in Albany or at local offices.

The state, she said, "failed miserably" in its first pilot project to take over administration for 12 counties, with hundreds of cases being mishandled.

It would be easy to think, Kirkpatrick said, that for the sake of local Medicaid clients, the county should hold onto local administration as long as possible, but the state has capped reimbursement for administrative costs.

If the county continues to administer the program, local wages and benefits and other expenses will continue to go up, but the state won't reimburse at a higher rate.

That's why, Kirkpatrick said, the county should go ahead and request the state take over the program, even if they aren't entirely ready for it on schedule.

In New York, Medicaid is a $53 billion program. About 3 percent of the expense goes to administration.

Currently, the county fills 22 full-time equivalent positions to administer Medicaid.  Some of the employees currently in those jobs would be able to transfer to the state payroll and continue doing much the same job as they do now.

February 3, 2012 - 1:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in legislature, Medicaid.

Press release from the Genesee County Legislature:

Importance of Medicaid Petition Drive. Why should Geneseeans Care?

$9.2 million six years ago was the amount Genesee County was spending for Medicaid. 50% of the total program cost is the responsibility of the taxpayer in New York State which is the same in most of the other 49 States. New York State has the 57 New York counties paying a share of this Medicaid Bill each week which in 2012 equals about 18.5% of that 50% state share.

Six years later, $9.8 million is the dollar amount representing 18.5 cents of every dollar spent for Medicaid that Genesee County taxpayers must fund in the 2012 budget year.

Approximately 7,200 individuals are enrolled in Medicaid in Genesee County. In 2014, the Federal Health Statute (Affordable Care Act) is mandating states to select a health care program for those particular state residents in need of health coverage and eligible to enroll. In New York state the choice has been made, Medicaid will be the primary payor. 

Current estimates that there are 5,000 additional county residents eligible for this proposed/expanded Medicaid program. This means an additional 69% increase in Medicaid funding, or in 2012 dollars would mean $6.30 per thousand just to pay the county’s 18.5% of this unfunded mandate.

This is a call to be answered by Genesee County and all New York State residents that have concern to be proactive with their county’s Medicaid petition drive.

Blank petitions are available at your town and village offices and once you have obtained signatures return to your town or village hall or local library. Petitions may also be sent to county residents electronically by contacting the Clerk of the Genesee County Legislature, Carolyn Pratt, 344-2550, ext. 2202, [email protected]

November 26, 2010 - 2:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, budget, Medicaid.

propertytaxpie.gif

The future of Genesee Justice wasn't the only matter discussed at the county budget hearing a week ago. County Manager Jay Gsell made a presentation about the county's entire budget picture.

Among the most interesting slides were those dealing with Medicaid. As the pie chart above shows, Medicaid accounts for 41 percent of the county's property tax levy, even though only 10 percent of the county's residents are eligible for benefits.

medicaidcaseload.gif

Federally mandated medicaid services:

  • Inpatient Hospital Services
  • Outpatient Hospital Services
  • Physician Services
  • Medical and Surgical Dental Services
  • Nursing facility services for individuals aged 21 or older
  • Home Health Care (Nursing, Home Health Aide, Medical Supplies and Equipment)
  • Family Planning Services and Supplies
  • Rural Health Clinic Services
  • Laboratory and X-Ray Services
  • Nurse Practitioner Services
  • Federally Qualified Health Center Services
  • Midwife Services
  • Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Services for individuals under 21 (Child/Teen Health Plan in NYS)
  • Medicare Coinsurance and Deductibles for qualified Medicare beneficiaries for Chiropractors, Podiatrists, Portable X-Ray and Clinical Social Work Services

Additional mandated services covered by NYS Medicaid:

  • Free-standing Clinic Services
  • Nursing Facility Services for under age 21
  • Intermediate Care Facility Services for the Developmentally Disabled 
  • Optometrist Services and Eyeglasses
  • Physical, Speech and Occupational Therapy
  • Prosthetic Devices and Orthotic Appliances
  • Dental Services, Audiology and Hearing Aids
  • Clinical Psychologist Services
  • Private Duty Nursing
  • Diagnosis, Screening, Preventive and Rehabilitative Services
  • Personal Care Services
  • Transportation to Covered Services
  • Hospice
  • Case Management
  • Inpatient Psychiatric Facility Services for Individuals under age 21 and over 65
August 13, 2010 - 1:14pm

This entry concludes Sunday's article on the comments of Victor DeSa, M.D., who spoke to senior citizens at Batavia's First United Methodist Church last week.

Please remember, this is a summary of DeSa's presentation and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Batavian:

Medicare, Medicaid and senior services

By requiring insurance companies to expand coverage, the new health care law will drive costs up, according to DeSa. The government has told consumers that these costs will be offset by subsidies for people making less than $80,000 per year.

These subsidies will be coming, in part, from a $500 billion cut from Medicare -- and that's where senior citizens and others eligible for Medicare should be concerned.

But this is not the only problem. Both Medicare and Medicaid, which DeSa called "the original two public options," have met with disaster. Medicaid has already failed, and Medicare is on the brink of failure.

"The government has no idea how to handle the rising costs. Their idea of handling the costs is to take a machete to (the programs) and cut."

August 8, 2010 - 12:33pm

Dr. Victor DeSa talked with seniors Friday about the federal government's new health care legislation. This followed his hour-long presentation, sponsored by the "Older Adult Ministries" program of Batavia's First United Methodist Church.

DeSa is a retired surgeon who had a private practice in Batavia for many years and currently serves on the United Memorial Medical Center Board of Directors. He is well renowned and respected in the community and very knowledgeable about how the health care field works -- including the role of legislation and the relationship between health care and the government.

There is a lot of misinformation about the new health care law and how it could affect  people -- especially Medicare and Medicaid recipients.

The doctor expressed disappointment in the mainstream media's handling of the topic.

"The people in the media are not doing their job," DeSa said. "The media used to look out for the common man, but now they have a bias and a preference. (Consequently), the news we get is filtered and we don't have all the information we need in order to make informed decisions."

For those who could not be there, here's the gist of DeSa's presentation (it will be divided into two parts for the reader's convenience) -- it reflects the arguments he made based on careful and meticulous research, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Batavian.

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