Friday: State Budget Cuts Money For Disabled

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For years, New York overcharged the federal government for Medicaid for people with developmental disabilities.

Now it's time to pay that money back, about $3 billion.

And the payback is being financed, in part, by cutting millions from the program that pays for developmentally disabled youths and adults in group homes.

Before the state Assembly finished passing the state budget, Republicans and some Democrats tried to restore $90 million to the program. They failed, despite the arguments of people like Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg.

"Where are our values?" Weisenberg, whose son is disabled, said. "We cannot let dollars be more important than people."

(The quotes are from an Associated Press report.)

The effect on agencies that deal with the developmentally disabled in northern New York was not clear Friday.

"We're looking at benefits, we're looking at staffing positions, we're looking at the services we provide," said Howard Ganter, the executive director of the Jefferson Rehabilitation Center.

At the Disabled Persons Action Organization, executive director Cindy Fitzpatrick said "75 percent of our funding, or more, is Medicaid funding for this agency. So it will be a definite impact."

The cuts will average 4.5 percent, but a committee in Albany will decide the exact number for each agency.

"It may be more or it may be less," said Ganter. "We don't know."

 

Saturday, November 22, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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