The 30th annual People’s State of the State event was held at the Capitol on January 7th.  The major theme was to urge state policymakers to reject austerity measures and instead raise revenue to provide for the needs of the people of New York.  Medicaid Matters Coordinator, Lara Kassel, delivered the following remarks on behalf of the coalition:

“Medicaid Matters is the statewide coalition representing the interests of the people who benefit from New York’s Medicaid program.  Our members are individuals, family members, representatives of community-based organizations and community-based providers, legal services agencies, and more.

There are many competing interests in Albany when it comes to Medicaid:  hospitals, nursing facilities, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry… but we are here to remind our state leaders of the purpose of the program:  to provide high-quality insurance coverage and access to services for millions of low-income people and people with disabilities.  That is the lens through budget decisions must be made.

New York State has a strong history of doing right by people in Medicaid.  New York has historically taken the principled approach to have a comprehensive program that provides essential benefits that no one should be expected to go without, services that keep them well, services that keep people living independently in their own homes, services that allow children to stay healthy and ready to learn.

Medicaid is a program that provides economic security and peace of mind so New Yorkers can live productive, independent, healthy lives.

Now we need a program with a realistic budget to prove this state will continue to do the right thing for Medicaid beneficiaries.  It is what people need.  It is what people are entitled to.  It is what people deserve.”

Other presenters included representatives of the New York State Council of Churches, Fiscal Policy Institute, Hunger Action Network, Citizen Action, VOCAL-NY, and Strong Economy for All.

News coverage of the event can be found here.