Statewide Medicaid Consumer Advocates to Albany Policymakers: “Medicaid Matters”

Jan 24, 2018 | News

In the wake of the governor releasing his budget, members of Medicaid Matters New York (MMNY) converged on Albany to raise awareness about the importance of New York’s Medicaid program to the people it serves.  They highlighted the strengths of the Governor’s proposals, which avoided many of the proposed Federal cuts, including work requirements that New York’s own Medicaid Director has publically denounced.  They went on to say they hoped the Legislature would strengthen vital services where the budget does negatively affect some Medicaid recipients.

Actions at the Federal level have placed Medicaid front and center in the national debate.  The group highlighted the importance of protecting New York’s values, including access to critical services for the over six million New Yorkers – children, families, seniors and people with disabilities – who rely on the program for their most basic health care needs.

Two Medicaid consumers shared their stories with policymakers and highlighted what Medicaid has contributed to their lives and liberty.

“Medicaid has enabled me to live in my own home rather than an institution,” said Rob Cicoria of Westchester County.  “I am able to engage in every-day activities, like driving, tutoring and mentoring at a community center.  Medicaid is the life line that allows me to live the way I want to live.”

“I was seven when my mother was hospitalized for over six months after attempting suicide.  Medicaid opened the door to identification and treatment for her and ultimately saved her life.  Medicaid allowed her to be healthy enough to seek and maintain stable housing for us,” said Amber Decker of New York City.  “My son’s Medicaid and Self-Direction allow him to work daily on communication, prevocational skills, and college readiness, which all provide motivation and self-esteem.  Medicaid has provided promise and hope that despite his developmental and medical challenges, he will one day be independent and fully integrated into his community and society.”

“Medicaid is high-quality, comprehensive health insurance that covers a wide range of health care services and supports,” said Lara Kassel, Coordinator of Medicaid Matters New York.  “There is so much uncertainty around the Federal administration’s support of the Medicaid program, and the Governor is devoting much of his attention on how to fix the state tax code for middle- and higher-income people.  We believe there is a way to ensure statewide stability for all and that is keeping Medicaid whole.”

Medicaid Matters New York is the statewide coalition representing the interests of the over six million people who are served by the Medicaid program in New York.

Watch the press conference video.

Listen to MMNY Coordinator, Lara Kassel, discuss Medicaid advocacy with Susan Arbetter on The Capitol Pressroom.